“Just washed all the floors and windows, ironed two loads of laundry and waiting for a batch of homemade muffins to finish baking. – feeling accomplished.”
You know those Facebook updates, don’t you? I do and they make me feel like crap.
In this day and age it’s so easy to compare yourself to others and I do that a lot when it comes to efficiency. I’ve been self-employed for four months now and I’m thinking a lot about how I make the most of my time. How to be efficient. (This has nothing to do with laundry and muffins but you know what I’m saying.)
Efficiency has almost become a negative word to me. For the past four months I’ve been obsessed with the thought of not wasting my time, ie. being efficient. Keeping busy, you know. And because I was obsessed with that thought I failed at it completely.
I’ve discovered that keeping my mind occupied all the time (bringing your phone with you on the can, anyone?) has been so damaging to how productive I am.
Working for yourself is overwhelming. There’s so much you wanna do. A thousand fun projects, a thousand obligations, a thousand blog posts and thoughts and ideas. These all kept piling up in my mind and all I felt like was taking a break.
So I took breaks. Lots of em. And in the spirit of staying efficient I was on during those breaks.
- I watched tv-shows while having lunch ’cause then I wouldn’t have to watch them later and take time away from something else.
- I was on Instagram when Photoshop/Illustrator/Bridge/InDesign was loading ’cause then I wouldn’t have to check it later and take time away from something else.
- I kept YouTube videos running when I was in the shower and when putting on makeup ’cause them I wouldn’t have to watch the videos later and take time away from something else.
You get the idea.
But those weren’t breaks. Are you kidding?
My mind was crowded. Over-stimulated. And as a result I never dove deep into anything. I was always browsing, checking, listening, watching, reacting. All over the place. And that left no room to think anything but shallow thoughts about anything. My art suffered. My blogs posts were lame and void of personality. I didn’t care enough about each thing because I was busy caring about a thousand things.
There’s something to be said about focus. And taking an actual, real break. Letting your mind be open to your own ideas instead of this constant stream of messages bombarding you from every direction.
Sure, Instagram is a positive thing. Getting comments from my peeps (you guys) means a lot to me. It drives me. So does the amazing, inspiring talented women I see on YouTube. They make me wanna kick ass just like they do.
But it’s not me.
If I want to do something valuable with my time I must shut everything else out for longer periods of time. I cannot be preoccupied with what everyone else is doing, even though they may be cheering me on or inspiring me. I gotta focus on me.
I’ve been practicing taking actual long breaks from everything and just being with myself. And it’s payed off instantly, which quite frankly has shocked me a bit. I also discovered that a quick, harmless glance at my IG or Facebook feed will totally ruin that focus.
I guess the bottom line is I’ve discovered that I can’t just be efficient. For me, first comes focus, then comes efficiency.
Let me know what your thoughts are on efficiency. I’d love to hear how you go about getting your best and most work done.
Thanks for reading all this, friend. Sometimes I just gotta let it all out. :)