Sometimes if my feet
Aren’t moving and
If my hands aren’t
Grasping at something
My mind imagines
That I’ve disappeared.
As if my lack of motion
Means that I am not here.
As if I hadn’t already
Come a long way.
To my surprise, much of my adult life has consisted of me unlearning old lessons while simultaneously having to reteach and restructure my thoughts with new beliefs. Most profoundly I’ve understood this within my relationship to time and action. As someone who thrives in movement and who often clung to the idea of needing to constantly be busy all of the time, it took me a while to understand that being busy and being productive were sometimes mutually exclusive.
While both entail effort and concentration, one is geared more towards actual impact and change.
As a millennial, I know all too well about the glitter and appeal of being “booked,” or too “unbothered” and unavailable due to the sweeping pace of our lives. It’s our motto, and for many, it’s valued as an indicator of status or success because it means that we’ve obtained a certain level of importance that feels good to us.
This nonstop mentality is acquired from a young age, whether it be through people who were visible to us, or even throughout the course of academia. We are taught to constantly be doing something and to constantly be involved and to constantly be moving. This is further enforced within the digital realms of social media where having a popping life is the priority. However, I’ve learned the hard way that running a race nonstop just for the sake of it isn’t sustainable, nor does it actually get you anywhere without a vision and a goal that fully encompasses you and what you want.
These days, I really prioritize being productive over being busy just to stay moving, and the truth is that sometimes productivity looks like taking a momentary pause to reflect. This relates to my intent to be fully present within myself at all times. In many ways, the state of busyness is like being on autopilot, and it is easy to mentally zone out. Whereas productivity encourages reflection – taking a moment to see what is or isn’t working, and then to proceed accordingly with a plan.
I’ve understood so clearly that my time is finite and valuable. I also believe that every person has a purpose, which isn’t just to keep running in place as a hamster does on a wheel.
As I harness my purpose in the world, I seek more and more to utilize my time in ways that make sense in relation to this purpose, where I can see real progress and development. I also create boundaries around what I can and can’t do because this too is a manifestation of my self-love.
Furthermore, it’s important to work on backing up talent with knowledge, perspective, and skill, which are all acquired over time with experience. So then, cultivate your time like a garden. It’s okay to slow down in order to learn or to pause in order to figure out a different way because these seeds are the catalyst to your success.
- Take stock of all of your projects and ask yourself why you’re doing them. What is the meaning of whatever task you are doing; what do you hope to accomplish by doing it?
- Make a list of the things you want to complete and convert them into actual slots of time on your daily calendar. Try to work on them only during those allotted time frames to instill work boundaries.
- Try to create a daily time-based ritual that adds to your intellectual or artistic skill set (i.e. reading, drawing, writing, or studying something new everyday for an hour).
Your time is your most valuable asset. So why not spend it doing things that get you closer to where you actually want to go.