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Why Your Productive Life Isn't As Perfect As You Imagined

"I've got so much on my plate. Let's try again next week. Next week I'll have more time. I'm so overwhelmed. I got nothing done today! I need to add this to my to do list. If it's not on my calendar, it's not happening"

Have you found yourself saying these words way too often? I know I find myself pinning the medal of busyness to my shirt more than I'd like to admit.

However, it's recently dawned on me that too often I mistake having a full schedule for having a full life.

These are NOT the same things.

Why do we feel guilty when we take a break during the day? Why do we feel we must plan everything out within an inch of it's life. Why do we make so many excuses when we don't produce the amount of work we hoped to?

I've been asking myself questions like these since the first of this year. I've thought about this and searched my heart. I've come to a few realizations:

  • I might be addicted to accomplishments and planning

  • Our culture (and the church) have imposed ridiculous amounts of pressure on us to hustle, and especially in the case of women (who have the double standards of guilt placed upon them)

Not surprisingly, this type of pressure has led to anxiety and perfectionism rising among young women at an alarming rate

You may have read my recent article on REST. There I explain how rest is not an easy practice for me. Partly this is due to my personality, but it's also in part due to our culture.

I love productivity and task- kicking tail and taking names if you will- but I can't love it more than I love people and the life I can build with those people.

We have made an American Idol out of being productive.

Our culture has created a religion out of work.

Is it possible we've mistaken productivity for our praise and our personal/professional wellbeing for worship?

Please don't get me wrong; we should work hard, we should give it our best; we should "work with our whole heart as unto the Lord, and not unto man." One of the biggest books from last year- named after a nightly routine all of us girls should be partaking in- shows the desire to work hard and hustle is alive and well. However, there are some seriously flawed ideas in those pages.

In some cases, we can work our tails off, put our best foot forward AND STILL fail. Things don't always work out the way we hoped for. Actually, they can work out better if we allow them too and give up a bit of control.

There must come a point in life where we allow a place for margin.

Margin are moments you can use in any manner that refreshes you or helps you get back on track.

Margin is your moment to exhale.

It’s your schedule’s “rainy day fund.”

Margin is your moment to make yourself an espresso-the type that always takes an extra 5 minutes- and enjoy the sunrise.

Speaking of sunrises- there have been various moments I've read Proverbs 31- the one about the virtuous woman- and felt like there is no way I can stack up.

She is a #bossbabe if I've ever seen one.

Her ability is staggering- up before dawn, sewing, preparing food, buying property, selling at the market, homeschooling her children, etc.- as I read these task I feel the expectation to do the same one day- and I really hate mornings...

The issue is, I'm reading this with the wrong set of lens. I'm reading it through the high achieving type 3 American born female lens when I need to read it through the lens of God's love.

The Proverbs woman is not the due to her productivity, but she is virtuous because she is Godly. The final portion is verse 31- "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." This verse is the part of the story we need to give our attention.

Tim Challies said in his book- Do More Better-

“Productivity—true productivity—will never be better or stronger than the foundation you build it upon.”

What is your foundation built upon?

Where are you putting your hope?


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