How I Stopped Being Productive: Dealing with Crises
Updated: Aug 13, 2019
How often do your hear from other people the question "Where do you get time for all your activities? You are so industrious and productive!" Oh, I would like to think so! I have a lot to do: coaching, writing, reading, learning, meditating, keeping my body in good shape, raising and nurturing my twins, being a wife, and serving my community. Yes, this is all about me. All of us wear many hats.
Recently I realized that to be productive is not the same as to seem being productive. More over, to be productive is not always an appropriate goal.
You could ask me "What has changed?" And I would answer ‘Everything that I had known and relied on in my everyday work before I learned how to live a fulfilling life.’ Intriguing? Let me share my story with you.
As you know, people who run their own businesses without proper planning and deadlines will constantly deal with crises. While dealing with a crisis, you postpone non-urgent tasks till the moment they become the next crises. This is a direct and short way toward burning out. This is the reason why entrepreneurs can feel overwhelmed, tired, exhausted, and stressed. Even doing a lot during the day, they still feel no satisfaction or fulfillment. Why? Because it’s very exhausting to fight emergencies non-stop.
I have been always pretty good at managing time. I had to-do lists for each day, a particular time allotted for each task, a tracker of new habits, a timer for the Pomodoro technique. I was well armed.
Two months ago I had a fully scheduled Monday. Most of my tasks were the things that I had procrastinated on till the last moment. During the third meeting that morning, I had a call from school about an emergency with my son’s health. I dropped everything and rushed to the school. We spent several hours at the hospital (fortunately, my son had a minor neck muscle injury), my day was ruined, meetings canceled, documents weren’t sent, promises weren’t delivered on, and all the deadlines missed. Really? One emergency caused all the troubles? Could this situation be different? Certainly!
A week before that ill-fated Monday, two things happened simultaneously. Two clients of mine came to me with inquiries related to time management issues. And my friend Gabe happened to recommend me the book ‘Personal Kanban’ by Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry. Have you ever heard of the phrase game changing? These words exactly described a shift in my perception of time management. I will share my major findings in my next post "How I Stopped Being Productive: Personal Kanban".