How often do you let yourself flow from one thing to the next, rather than ticking off a mental to do list of ‘what you need to do for the day? I for one, almost always have an idea of how my day is going to go, especially on a weekend.
We get two days off a week, so let’s make those count, right? Let’s make sure we do this and do that and see this person and go to this place.
I’m so guilty of this.
I’ve always had a ‘thing’ with weekends. They stress me out a bit, because I feel like I need to make the most of them, so I can get myself in a fluster about where to go and what to do; all in the name of wanting to not waste a moment.
Last Sunday started off that way, too.
I woke up with an idea of how my day was going to go, and was quite set on ‘doing’ a few things. I went to join the yoga studio down the road, did a class, went to the shops to get groceries, then came home and made myself brunch.
So far so good.
Then I did some washing, and threw some ingredients together in the slow cooker to make beef stock. (Because I am aiming to be the girl version of Jamie Oliver.)
Up until this point, I’m feeling quite chuffed with myself.
I’ll be the first to admit that being productive can feel so rewarding; but if we aren’t careful, it can also turn into rigidity, and pushing just a little too hard.
‘I’ve gotta do this and can’t relax til X,Y and Z are done.’
When you’re starting to think that; the flow of productivity has turned into pushing yourself maybe further than you want to go.
Maybe you ‘need’ to do ten things today, but you feel like you’re starting to burn out a little after only three things.
If you stop there, you are honouring your energy levels. If you keep going, and push through it, you are not.
That’s how I know when to stop; when I start to feel slightly burnt out of slightly resentful of the task.
When the flow of ‘getting stuff done’ turns into a slight push to do even more.
I stop there.
However, sometimes I find it hard to listen to that feeling, and I push despite being told by my body I’ve done quite enough.
Back to me being Jamie Oilver.
I put the Beef Stock on, and I was feeling really good.
I had then planned to work for the whole afternoon, while the washing dried on the line. (Note, at this point I was feeling a little tug to now relax and unwind. Productivity limit had been reached.)
However, I ignored this and just when I was about to sit down at my laptop to dive into an afternoon of work, the weather got involved, and it started to rain.
I ran outside to rescue the washing, and at the clothes line, my neighbour was doing the same thing.
After we’d laughed about how our washing was almost dry and now it was getting rained on, we walked back to our apartments together, about to part ways, when she turned to me and asked if I wanted to come in for a tea.
The rigid part of me wanted to say ‘oh no thanks, I got work to do,’ but there was a bigger part of me that just wanted to chill out and say ‘yes.’
So I found myself accepting.
I then spent about three hours over there with her, her husband, and their three children (under five years old.) We chatted and discovered we have a common interest in nutrition; her four year old was playing next to us, giggling and eating broccoli (my dream child) and I honestly don’t know where the time went.
When we are so set on checking things off of our to do to list, we can get too caught up in it. We miss the opportunities for life to unfold and for connection with those around us.
If I had of kept working all afternoon, I know I would have pushed too hard and been exhausted at the end of the day, probably with a headache in tow.
However, because I just went with the flow, and said yes to the little opportunity life presented me, I now feel completely relaxed and even more ‘at home’ here in my new apartment, knowing I have a beautiful neighbour who shares common interests as me.
I would never have known that, or be feeling this relaxed if I’d have pushed past the opportunity to say yes, and kept on with my tunnel vision as to how my day needed to look.
I know you can relate to this, we all do it.
Next time you find yourself pushing past the point of productivity, when it turns into pushing too hard, listen to your body, and give it down time.
The to do list will be there tomorrow, and the next day.
Life isn’t a race to get everything done.
If the washing is still there tomorrow, no one will sue you.
If the dishes are still piled up, just order take out.
Look for the opportunities that life throws at you, to say yes to; because going with the flow means allowing life to enter, and being moved by the places it takes us.