It’s tempting for people who are “into” time management to claim that getting everything done is a sign of being productive.
Instead, I think it’s a matter of stifling your creativity. What’s the connection?
I have noticed over the years of leading time management programs that bright, creative people are always coming up with new things to do. Their minds are working non-stop – not out of any compulsion, but from a love or passion for what they do. Their penchant for continuous improvement means that they are always working on ways to make their life better, and the more clear their minds are, the more good ideas come to them, and the more time demands are crafted.
Creative, committed people never stop coming up with new time demands, and expect to be on their death-beds thinking about new stuff that they could be doing if they weren’t busy lying down dying!
The fact is, if your mind is free it will always be coming up with more stuff to do than you can possibly fit into a day, month, year or lifetime. If it isn’t doing so, then you may want to take a look at what might be blocking it from the natural energy that wants to be expressed.
For some, it’s a sense of suppression. Others are bitter and angry. A few stifle their creativity and lose their childlike sense of wonder at the world. Many are going to work every day feeling overwhelmed and burdened.
Once you are free to create, however, there are no limits, and you must learn to let go of the expectation that everything you think you want to do will ever get one. In fact, once you accept that everything isn’t going to happen in the time that you want it to, then you realize that choosing what to work on next also means choosing what to ignore.
Your perspective shifts…. being productive now means making smart choices about work that empowers the direction you want to go in. That’s a lot different than scrambling to get stuff done each day, thinking that one day your plate will be empty.
I have met some professionals who check email as soon as they awaken from sleep in the morning, and spend the rest of the day chasing after the hottest item that is tossed to them in each moment. At the end of the day, they have done a lot, but accomplished little of value, and they are left with a feeling of guilt… as if they should be good enough to get everything done each day.
The guilt is unnecessary… simply give up thinking that your mind is limited, and surrender to the fact that you are a source of infinite ideas, and that it’s a bad idea to pretend to be otherwise.