As you can probably tell from my last post or two, I’ve been working to find a helpful balance of doing and rest. I’ve never valued down time more than I do lately, but I also love my work, and it’s one area of my life that suffered with depression last summer. I’m striving to maintain a reasonable baseline of productivity lately, not because I measure my value by how busy I am, but because creating makes me feel alive.
In the past, I’ve approached productivity zealously. I read books, adopt various hacks, and I scribble endless to-do lists. Invariably, I become frustrated by my inability to keep up with whatever new approach I’m trying. I become discouraged, which in turn makes me less productive.
I’m now examining productivity through the lens of my own experience, rather than somebody else’s. The main thing I’ve learned is that there’s an almost comical discrepancy between how long I think most tasks will take versus how long they actually take. An item that I assume will take a few hours can easily consume an entire work day.
The most shocking thing about this isn’t the fact itself, but rather the fact that it’s been true for a long time. I’ve been making to-do lists and finding that I can only accomplish one or two of five or six tasks for years now. Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing and expecting a different result?
After a few days of being disappointed in how little I was able to do this week, I invited myself to try something new. I planned on doing less each day. I assumed that everything would take a few more hours than I thought it should. I placed my focus on things that were high priority, refusing to get distracted by things that weren’t.
It was such a relief to operate this way. My experience made me think about advice that I often give to nutrition clients about their eating patterns. If you’re constantly hungry, plagued by the feeling that you’ve “failed,” then the eating style you’re trying to maintain isn’t an eating style that works for you. Commit to something you can sustain, something that makes you feel supported rather than depreciated.
So much freedom results from meeting yourself where you are, rather than where you think you ought to be. It’s a lesson that I learn again and again, always underestimating its importance. I think back to where I was about eight years ago, writing this blog as I completed my post-bacc, or how I felt last year, as I was doing my internship. I was always rushing, my attention always divided.
That chapter has closed. Now it’s my job to find a work pattern that’s suited to who I am. This means working with my capacities, rather than trying to fight them. I’ll keep doing that, lovingly.
Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.
I’m bookmarking Nyssa’s beautiful, dairy free chowder to make while corn is in season.
Love the looks of Valerie’s creamy dijon tempeh vegan “chicken.”
Deryn’s got a quick, versatile recipe for black pepper tofu, perfect for serving over rice or cold noodles.
Not sure I could make a dessert this beautiful if I tried! But I will try to recreate Kristina’s vegan black forest naked cake. One of these days.
1. I love artist Aya Brown’s illustrated portraits of black female essential workers.
2. NPR reports on the difficulty of balancing the importance of self-quarantine to prevent Covid-19 transmission with the impact of isolation on mental health, especially among young people.
Similarly, I’m concerned about the impact of isolation on those who are struggling with eating disorders and/or ED recovery. Both can be incredibly difficult without social support and access to higher level care.
3. An examination of growing evidence that air pollution increases susceptibility to the coronavirus. This intersects with the racial disparities in who contracts the virus and is harmed by it at higher rates.
4. I found this op-ed, which details strategies that may make Covid-19 treatment more efficient even without a vaccine, encouraging. I was also interested to read this explanation of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine (a nice, visual primer on aspects of immunology and antibody function, too).
5. Finally, a helpful look at actions you can take to help manage imposter syndrome.
Being committed to realistic goals in the past week resulted in a realistic acknowledgment that the recipes I’d planned to share weren’t ready for sharing. Which means that I can look forward to sharing them this week! Till soon,
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