What really stops you from being productive?

First the disclaimer. I am a huge fan of productivity systems, time management techniques, and organization. I could spend hours in an office supply store checking out the latest in file folder technology, organizers, in/out boxes, and the like. I read Julie Morgenstern’s books. I read Zen Habits. I read Productivity Magazine.  I try to practice GTD methods for organizing my inbox and to do lists. But the truth is that I am, and maybe you are, beyond the help of all those people.

The truth is that disorganization doesn’t keep me from getting things done. I was fairly organized to start with. I already knew how to make lists, use calendars (electronic and otherwise), and I use technology efficiently to reduce my work load.

But honestly. None of that really does anything, does it?

The truth is that the obstacles to me getting work done are internal, not external. They are things like: anxiety, depression, worry, not having my heart in my work.

There are a few external obstacles too, but they tend to be human — children (did you know they expect to be fed every day? several times?), for example.

I found that the usual productivity solutions were not solving my problems and that I was getting less and less done while feeling more and more overwhelmed. I was not only not working at my peak or anywhere near it, but I developed adrenal fatigue from stress and, in my opinion, from spending too much time trying to beat myself into getting things done. At some point, when you are overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted, pushing harder and trying to be more efficient is like squeezing blood from a stone. It can’t be done — or if you manage it, you start to see diminishing returns. Of course I tried sleeping less, staying up late, getting up earlier (I really did try, though I’m not a morning person), using a polyphasic sleeping schedule. It seemed like everything I tried only made things worse.

So I changed my strategy. I decided that if I wasn’t getting anything done anyway, I might as well try taking better care of myself and see if that helped. It did — but I was so far gone at that point that I needed to take time to catch up on rest, improve my diet, and cut WAY back on caffeine before I could start to slowly and gradually increase my work load. In other words, I was at the point where everything had to come to a grinding halt first.

Don’t let this happen to you!

Hence, this website. There have to be gentle ways to nourish our bodies, minds and spirits so that we can do the work we are in this life to do. I’ve been researching these ways (in some desperation) and have found quite a few options that help me enormously. I hope some of these ideas are helpful to you, too.

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