Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Productivity Is Not a Synonym for Happiness

Everyone has stress. Stress is a response to challenges in life. And let's face it, a life without challenges would be dreary and boring.

If you’re a writer, stress manifests itself when you write and when you don’t. If the writing flows, we say we’re in the zone. When it stops, we agonize over how to kick-start ourselves. When we end a piece, we fuss over the editing process. And when we’re finally finished with it, we ponder whether our creation is worthy enough, then lapse into the insecurity of “what will we write next”?

I’ve decided, after a half-dozen books, there is no happy medium to getting the right balance in life that will relieve a writer’s stress level. But there are small things to ease our anxieties.

We all know we have to eat healthy and exercise, but there are other things to consider. One is to stay as organized as possible, and simplify routines, commitments, and clutter. A messy desk doesn’t cause us stress. Not finding the papers we need which are buried in a chaotic heap on our desks causes us to stress.

We also need to let go of multi-tasking and slow down. We’re in a society that says we can do it all. We want to write, but not upset our family’s routine or our commitments to others, so we rush, rush, rush. Maybe it’s time to go back to the single task philosophy our parents used. Maybe it’s time to streamline our time and eliminate unnecessary commitments. Instead of the mental “to do” list which stretches for miles in our mind, it’s time to write down a realistic “to do” list and only put down five essential tasks we want to complete in a given time.

And lastly, here is my favorite de-stressor idea. I’m giving myself permission to have free time for myself—whether it’s to do a hobby, read, travel, or just take time off from writing without guilt. Life doesn’t have to be about always accomplishing things—always placing the next word on the page. After all, productivity has never been a synonym for happiness.  

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