Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Productivity Rules (Forever, dammit!)

When I look back and muse upon it—which I frequently do each evening as I draw the curtains—the very best kind of day is one that has contained all the following ingredients:

● I created something

● I exercised my body

● I spent time outdoors

● I completed something

● I enjoyed myself

● I felt fit, healthy and in love with life 

Some days are like that. But how to deal with the ones that are not? How to deal with the days when I feel like Stephen Leacock’s character who “… flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions.”?
How to deal with the days when, as I draw the curtains, I cannot even remember one single thing I actually did except for eating meals, going to the bathroom and checking email?

How to deal with days when, despite all my good intentions, the piles of paper keep piling up and all efforts to bring order to my chaos fail (again)?
How to feel OK about a whole day spent sitting in an armchair reading the latest Michael Connelly murder mystery when I really should be out there doing Something To Save the Planet (or at least pulling a few weeds in the veggie garden)?

Over  the years I have convinced myself that it is perfectly OK to be erratic, perfectly OK to have quiet days and doing nothing days, perfectly OK to please myself from moment to moment as regards what I do with my day, especially now that I am retired and officially an old woman. Besides which, I’m a writer and writers need quiet gestation time as well as busy scribbling time, right? Yes, I have convinced myself of all these excellent arguments. And yet…

Something I have noticed is that it is heaps easier to feel good about a doing nothing day if it happens to occur on a Sunday. Interesting, isn’t it? Interesting to notice how deeply our childhood conditioning  sinks into our psyches, how it is reinforced throughout our lives by twelve or more years of schooling and half a century's exposure to the industrial culture* and how hard it is to eradicate entirely. Kind of like couch grass.

Anyone else noticed this?

(* not everyone is paid for what they do, more's the pity, but we're all conditioned by the so-called 'working week.')