Some days just aren’t that productive… and that’s ok

I’ve got into the semi-regular habit of creating a plan before I get to working on the day or evening for my illustration business. I have a template that I use in my digital journal that encourages me to set three priority tasks, other tasks and an intention. Some days I manage to make my way through the majority of the list and others I’m pleased to just tick my priorities off or something pressing has come up and I just have to change the plan. Today however, well it’s just not going so well…

The start to my day was slow and rather than get up to begin work I watched some TV, hugged my cats (really) and then showered just before mid-day. I was kind of okay with doing this because I had a busy weekend with whirlwind work trip to France overnight for our Christmas party, as an introvert things like that always need some time to restore energy. Travelling as well is often quite draining. The past two days I have also been doing work in the evenings rather than resting even though I was tired.

When I did get to work today I began with looking into new product ideas, looking up different suppliers and thinking but not really doing – the judgy part of my brain says this wasn’t productive but on the flip side this could lead to some fun new products that could earn income! I did take some time to finish the drawing stage of the illustration shown as this posts thumbnail but this morning me had wrote to finish it entirely! Now that it is late afternoon and I still haven’t done much of my list, it’s hard not to feel I have wasted the day but I think perhaps that is okay. If I’m honest writing a blog post was on my task list so I looked through some ideas I had thought of previously but none of them appealed and I felt (just a little) inspired to write this one.

Recently I saw Ruth Poundwhite had posted the following Instagram post ‘Rest is part of the work’ and I know this is a lesson I seem to keep needing to learn over and over as well. I can overwork and overthink until I burnout but I have to do the sometimes hard thing to stop before I get to that point because I will literally achieve nothing and potential get ill and be forced to stop.

The pull of wanting to achieve more in a day is alluring to me, I can feel restless sitting downstairs in the evening trying to watch tv or reading when I know I can go upstairs into my office/studio to try to do more work. Often I do cave in but then procrastinate or work slowly or not illustrate to my best because I am tired.

In my experience…

  • Working hard is good, over-working is not good

  • Prioritise the truly important things your health, your relationships

  • Don’t try to avoid rest – it will catch up with you

  • Meditation, mindfulness, exercise and journalling are all great ways to stop overthinking and to process things that might be holding you back

  • As an introvert know that sometimes you will need time to restore your energy after social occasions/events

  • On a procrasination-y day assess what is causing it and decide if the right thing to do is fight through it or embrace it

  • You will need to do hard tasks but some days are better for them than others

  • A little progress is still progress

  • Achieve a little by following the fun ideas or at least the ones that appeal a little more

  • In the spirit of Ruth’s post reframe resting as part of the work

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

– Bill Gates