Busy is not the same as Productive

I post quite a few articles on getting things done. I’m always making goals, to-do lists, and trying to press forwards.

However, when it comes to goals, schedules, to-do lists, and productivity in general, there are a few common misconceptions and complaints I’ve heard.

Misconception #1: Productivity Means Less Time for People and Relationships

This is emphatically wrong, at least in my life.

If you make goals that prioritize stuff and busy-ness over the people in your life, then yes, you are going to get less time for people because you didn’t prioritize them in your plans.

When it comes to planning, you get what you plan for. If you plan for nothing, then anything you do happens by happenstance. You’re choosing, by default, to be carried along by every circumstance that comes your way. If you plan for something specific, you will get what you planned for, or at least close to it.

If we spend our lives “putting out fires” so to speak, reacting to everything that happens to us and around us, we rarely will have time for what we have decided to be a priority in our lives.

If, in our planning, we’ve made plans to enrich our relationships, then we will likely improve our relationships with others because we have planned for it. It’s really that simple. You get what you plan for, so make your goals and planning reflect what is most important to you.

You get what you plan for, so make your goals reflect what's important to you. Click To Tweet

Misconception #2: I’m busy enough as it is; I don’t need a to-do list

Busy is not the same thing as productive or goal-oriented.

Busy is not the same thing as productive or goal-oriented. Click To Tweet

You can be super busy but get absolutely nothing of value to you done. Think of a hamster running on a wheel. That’s exhausting, and at the end of the day, it’s pointless.

You can be super busy but get absolutely nothing of value to you done. Click To Tweet

Living a goal-orientated, intentional life, with goals set for the different areas of your life, including your relationships, you can actually better manage your time by focusing more on what you decide is important. When you take time to think about what is important to you, and what you want to accomplish in your home, relationships, and even professionally, you can better see what to say yes to and what to say no to.

Most of us, I believe, need to focus more on saying no to those things that are less than best for us at this moment, so we have the time and energy to focus on what really is best for us and our families.

Misconception #3: I don’t work anymore or run a business, so I don’t need goals or a to-do list

Most of the books and articles out there are written more with a professional person’s life in mind, instead of focusing on women who wear many different hats in life. That fact doesn’t mean that a stay at home mom would benefit any less from having some direction in her life.

My husband and I have been married now for 22 years, and we’ve been parents for almost 21 years. We were just talking recently, around the New Year, with friends of ours who have very young children. The topic came up concerning what we felt like we did right, and what we wish we could do differently. In terms of what we felt we did right in parenting, we both agreed that setting long term goals, and having a mission statement as parents we super helpful in raising our children.

We may know in our heads that our kids will not remain kids forever, but by creating some long term goals for how we wanted this whole parenting thing to turn out, we were able to focus on taking the time to encourage certain character traits, teach necessary skills, and make parenting decisions based on a long term vision for what we were trying to accomplish. Part of this was adding to a to-do list some weekly time with each child, individually, to encourage or work on certain things (note: not a weekly time of berating, discipline, etc, but of encouragement, bonding, and so forth).

Parenting Goals helped us to focus our parenting efforts better. Click To Tweet

In the same way, as far as managing our home is concerned, I set certain goals that I strive to meet each year, and a regular to-do list of cleaning routines. I try to get that taken care of as soon as possible, so that I have more time for what I like doing. If you don’t have a plan, and feel you have “all day” to do housework, guess what? House work will take all day. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Without a plan, Housework will take all day. Plan so there's time for fun stuff. Click To Tweet

Misconception #4: Goals, To-Do Lists, and Being “Intentional” and “Productive” Doesn’t leave time for Fun Stuff

Very wrong!

In my experience, if you don’t plan for the fun stuff, it does not happen.

In my experience, if you don’t plan for the fun stuff, it does not happen Click To Tweet

Knowing what is and is not important to the different people in our families, we can all make sure to plan for recreational activities that everyone enjoys, far better than if we are just waiting for the opportunity to have the time, money, and energy to do something. This summer, my son is going to be working in Tennessee again, and so we have to plan our time and money not only to drive him down to Tennessee, but also plan for a family vacation along the way.

On a smaller scale, it’s helpful to plan out little fun things, like trips to the zoo, a day or two at the park, walking around the Sanilac Petroglyphs, or visiting the art museum. If you don’t take the time to plan to make tie dye shirts with your kids one summer day, you’re probably not going to do it. Right?

You can even plan to be spontaneous.

(my husband says this is where I get a little nerdy)

You can even plan to be spontaneous. Click To Tweet

Once a month, I randomly pick a day, and unbeknownst to anyone else (unless they are reading my site now), I have that day set aside for doing something spontaneous as a family.  It’s not from being super organized, but rather because I know that if I don’t plan, I usually don’t do it

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