The Productive Wife, Day 26
Is there such a thing as too busy? Yes, I think so. I also think that a person can be busy without being productive. I’ve experienced first-hand lately the effects of being too busy – namely burnout. I often use busyness as an excuse to put off cleaning the house, to put off doing things with friends, and even to put off doing things with my husband. When busy becomes an excuse, I find I’m actually being lazy.
- I’m too busy to focus on something that or someone who needs my undivided attention. Case-in-point? Texting friends or checking emails or Facebook while watching TV together with my husband and calling it “quality time” together.
- I’m too busy to keep up with chores. Case-in-point? I tell myself I’ll do it on the weekend, but the weekend comes and I’m exhausted and burnt out from the week that I put it off again and say I’ll do it next weekend.
- I’m too busy to take time for myself in a productive, refreshing way. Case-in-point? I tell myself something that is naturally refreshing and rejuvenating is a waste of precious time like taking a long, hot shower to soothe my achy muscles and shaving my legs to feel more feminine which all-around helps me relax.
- I’m too busy so I use that as an excuse to do certain things because “I deserve it,” right? Case-in-point? I’ll take an exorbitant amount of time to veg-out in front of the TV or computer or to not make plans with friends on the weekend because I deserve to loaf around since I’m so busy much of the rest of the time.
Proverbs 31:27 says, “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Busyness should not be an excuse for laziness, ladies!
Busyness stretches your focus thinly, creating more space for distractions. Productivity helps you to focus on one to two specific tasks.
Does this mean you can’t multi-task? No, because right now I’m doing a load of laundry while I write this post. I talk on the phone with friends while driving. I watch a TV show with Adam while I wait for dinner to cook in the oven. However, the more activities or actions I throw into the mix at once, the less focused I am. Which is better? Four or five tasks done haphazardly and halfway decent or one to two tasks done really well?
When I’m trying to do four things at once, I am not very productive because my focus is split in so many directions. The other night I was trying to update a game, check social media, and write a blog post downstairs all while I was trying to cook dinner for Adam upstairs. I grew increasingly frustrated because I kept missing the checkbox for my game that said, “Do you want to restart your computer now or later?” and so my laptop would shut down in between each update. I was so distracted in my blog post I had several sentences that didn’t make sense, and I found that I was writing stuff on social media I intended to write on the blog and vice versa. And my dinner suffered too because my chicken was undercooked, then overcooked, my steamed carrots were too crunchy instead of soft, the rice was cold, and dinner took 3 times as long as normal because I was in and out of the kitchen.
I love the GWT version of 1 Peter 5:8: “Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines clear as “unhampered by restriction or limitation, free from entanglement, free from obstruction.”
When my mind is on tasks that are here-there-everywhere, my focus isn’t clear. My attentiveness is limited and restricted because I’m trying to do too many things at once. Distractions easily entangle me and suddenly I realize I’ve wasted time because it’s taken me longer to do three tasks at once than it would’ve if I had done each task individually. My productivity is hampered because I may leave many tasks undone, half-done, or simply half-quality. I end up feeling over-burdened, frustrated, and under-accomplished, leading to stress and frayed emotions.
This is the time when the Devil likes to taunt and lie to me, causing me to doubt myself, grow complacent, give up, or give into laziness (because if I can’t do this right, why bother trying?). Does this resonate with you, my sister?
Philippians 4:6–7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
5 Tips for Changing Busyness into Productivity
- Don’t be anxious. Break up your tasks into smaller more manageable chunks, and let go of things you simply cannot accomplish today.
- Pray throughout the day. Take your day to God and ask Him to show you where He wants you to focus today.
- Approach each task you do with joy. Don’t go into a task thinking you’re going to be stressed because the mind has a funny way of making negative things come true if we think about them too much. Work to stay positive (i.e. listen to praise music or talk to God while you work, give yourself something to look forward to later, take much-needed breaks throughout the day).
- Try to do tasks one at a time and give it your all.
- Eliminate distractions. I often have to leave my cell phone in another room in order to get tasks done, or I need to silence my phone when spending time with Adam. Take steps to eliminate unnecessary interruptions.
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This post is Day 26 of the 30 Dates in November Challenge 2014. Sign-up via email. Receive daily challenges, additional encouragement, and extra goodies.
How do you battle distractions and spreading yourself to thin?
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