Productivity is always a hot topic, and not just at the beginning of each year. Yesterday I was watching an old Webinar Over Wine replay from Shauna Mackenzie of The Best Kept Self (www.bestkeptself.com) about productivity. While talking about doing annual productivity audits so that you have a better understanding of where you are spending your time she asks the listener to question the motivation for each task on your list. Do you have the item on your list because of fear, imposition, or joy?
I had to think about that one for a minute and even replayed that section to hear it again. There are quite a few items on my list that I consider necessary evils. They certainly don’t bring joy to my life but I feel like they have a legitimate spot on my list. So, I wondered, is it possible to shift your mindset for those types of tasks that you feel you just can’t eliminate but know they don’t truly bring joy to your life?
I think it is possible! Here’s what I mean.
One of my weekly “to-do” items is to write a blog post. To be honest, I find it one of my necessary evils. I fear that if I don’t write a post every week, I won’t be able to gain the exposure, recognition, and credibility I need to really grow my business. Not only does it not bring me joy it causes me dread every single week. But, I’ve been told by experts that blogging is something I absolutely have to do.
Because I come from a mindset of fear and maybe even a little bit of imposition, I tend to procrastinate about this activity every week. But what if I was able to change my mindset from one of fear/imposition to one of joy when it comes to blogging? How would I go about this?
- Look for areas that can bring joy
- Focus on the joy!
I spent the time to really analyze my thoughts and feelings around blogging to see if I could clearly define what it is that I don’t like about it and if there are any pieces of it where I could find joy. What I discovered is that I don’t find joy in the process of writing. I have never really enjoyed writing exercises because I feel it is not one of my strengths. I don’t enjoy the pressure of coming up with a topic and I’m not creative enough to deliver clever, inventive, or entertaining ways of communicating the topic in written form.
But what I do find joy in is the sharing of information. I love helping people. I love sharing lessons learned so that maybe, just maybe, others can get to their desired state faster. There is joy in blogging for me. I just hadn’t looked at it that way before. I dread the process but I find joy in the outcome.
Today, when I sat down to write this post, I was eager to get started. The topic came naturally and I am excited to share this epiphany with all who read this. By shifting my mindset from blogging being something I need to do for my business – which doing this for me in and of itself does not bring me joy – to focusing on the outcome of sharing information that helps people – which is externally focused, bigger than me, and does bring me joy – I can now look forward to blogging on a weekly basis.
I honestly believe this can be applied to just about any of those necessary evils. I struggle with maintaining a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle. When I analyze my motivation for focusing on weight, I know deep down it’s driven by fear. I’m fearful of being judged by others, I’m fearful that I will embarrass my husband or daughter, I’m fearful that my husband won’t find me attractive, I’m fearful that being overweight will keep me from participating in life, etc. What if I could find joy in being healthy? Could I find joy in finding creative ways to make healthy meals? Could I find joy in finding fun ways to stay active? I bet I can. I have some things I want to experiment with and then I’ll report back to everyone on this one.
What about household chores. I don’t find joy in vacuuming. I don’t find it therapeutic or enjoyable in the least. But, what if I could find joy in other things that I can do while I vacuum? Could I listen to podcasts or a book on tape, which does bring me joy, while I’m performing a task that I don’t find joy? YES!
I would love to believe that I can just eliminate everything from my life that doesn’t cause me joy but I know that isn’t feasible. However, I am very thankful to Shauna for posing the question that led to me questioning my mindset. I may not be able to shift a task but I can certainly shift my mindset – and that does bring me joy.