Self care is such a buzzword. I feel like it’s overused to be almost meaningless.
Yet here I am writing an article on the relationship between self care and productivity. Two things that don’t seem like they go together.
Which is the point.
When did doing things to take care of ourselves and live a life that feels good and fulfilling and nourishing become mutually exclusive with our productivity? With the things we do. And how we do them.
When did it become necessary to ADD things to do our to do list to counteract the stress of all the other things on our to do lists?
This dichotomy between work and play. Between productivity and rest. Between smashing out tasks and living our lives. The division is madness.
So how can we close that gap?
How can we approach our productivity in a way that supports us to feel our best, to fill our cup, to nourish us?
How can productivity become our self care practice?
The relationship between self care and productivity
Think about how you define self care. If you go deeper than facials and scented candles, it’s about supporting yourself to feel good. At your best.
Doing nothing, procrastinating, having things hanging over you feels crappy.
Being stressed out because you feel like you’ve literally got a million things to do feels crappy.
Knowing you’re not living up to the potential you KNOW is inside of you feels crappy.
So being productive is an act of self care. It’s a way to feel how you want to feel.
But it goes even deeper than that.
Using productivity to increase self worth
At the core of self care is valuing yourself. Believing your worth your own time, energy and attention. How you can build that worth and confidence over time, is to keep promises to yourself. Every time you promise yourself something and then follow through on that promise, it’s evidence that you’re important. You are creating the narrative that you matter.
So everytime you do something you want to do, you are telling yourself that you matter.
Everytime you map out your week and do those things, you are telling yourself that you matter.
Everytime you commit to a habit or routine and show up for it, you are telling yourself that you matter.
And the more you believe that you matter, the more self care is just something you do.
Like of course I take care of myself because I matter.
Of course I eat well. Of course I move in whatever way feels good to me. Of course I take time for the hobbies I love. Of course I have fun. Of course. Of course. Of course.
Because if you matter, believe that you’re important, then it is worth taking care of you. You WANT to take good care of you. You WANT to make choices that are nourishing and fulfilling.
And doing what you say you’re going to do, to YOURSELF, is a great way to build that self belief.
The role of compassion in productivity
Then there’s the flip side.
Self care is all about compassion. Kindness. Being gentle with yourself.
So when you think about productivity from a point of view of self care, you think about:
- What is realistic for me to achieve today?
- Do I need to prioritise rest over ticking things off?
- I have done enough. I have done more than enough.
- My worth is not reflected in how many things are on my to do list.
- It’s ok to stray from the plan. ESPECIALLY to honour how I’m feeling.
- My productivity needs to suit me, not match what someone else is doing.
- What do I need to do to support me in doing what I want to do today?
Thinking about what feels supportive, nourishing and possible gives you a different perspective on your to do list.
It allows you to acknowledge that there’s always more to do so let’s stop pretending the list will ever be finished.
It allows you to consider where your energy is each day when deciding what to work on.
It reminds you that you’re a human not a productivity machine so ‘off’ days are simply part of the experience. No big deal.
All of that thinking reinforces that you matter.
That you, the person, is an important piece of the puzzle. You consider YOU.
It all adds up.
Practical ways to bring self care to your productivity
Now you see the relationship between productivity and self care, the question is what to do? Where to start?
The first thing to remember is this is a mindset change. A shift in how you think about productivity. So any kind of journaling or affirmation practice you already have, is a great place to start.
If you don’t have something like that as a starting point, what you want is something to remind you of this idea of self care of productivity. Put a post-it on your mirror. Set a reminder on your phone. Print the article and put it somewhere you’ll see it everyday. Bonus points for highlighting your favourite parts.
Find a way to come back to this idea everyday. That’s the critical step.
Here are some other things to add to your toolbox:
- Write down everything spinning around in your brain. You can deal with what you can see. It always feels more manageable when you can see it in front of you.
- Do a system spring clean. How do you track what’s happening and what you have to do? Is it working for you? How can you simplify how you organise yourself?
- Take some time to define what productivity means to you. What role does it play in your life? This gives you a touch point to bring yourself back to when you fall into old ways of thinking.
Change your relationship to productivity forever
At first it doesn’t seem like productivity and self care are two concepts that go together. But bringing a self care perspective to how you approach productivity shifts it from a necessary evil to a way to support yourself. Build confidence.
The challenge is making this your default way of thinking. You’ve got countless bosses and productivity experts and endless articles all reinforcing this idea that productivity is HARD. Something that requires systems and tactics more than a mindset.
That’s why I wanted to be a productivity coach. To support women in shifting away from traditional thinking and claim their own version of productivity. So that YOU can fulfil your potential as you, not what something external tells you you’re meant to be. And we do this over three months so you have plenty of time to tweak, refine and gain confidence to continue your journey well beyond the coaching series.
And you get started on that journey right now by completing my self reflective questionnaire. This gets you thinking about productivity (and your life) in fresh ways. So when we meet for a free consult call we can dive straight into your relationship to productivity. Complete your questionnaire here.