Friday, January 27, 2017

Poor Productivity

If you're like me, you've probably noticed that your productivity has gone down in the last week. Though my most important job tasks are being finished, other things are getting pushed aside: the abstract I'm working on for an upcoming conference (which, blissfully, the abstract deadline has been extended from Tuesday to Thursday of next week), the book I promised to beta-read for a NaNoWriMo friend, the a capella arrangement I'm supposed to be writing, and the short story contest I'm participating in - all these things keep getting dragged on, as I get distracted by the latest developments in Washington.

Fortunately, Eileen Webb gets it, and offered this post about Productivity in Terrible Times:
I think I’m not the only one who hasn’t been getting much done lately in the realm of “normal work”. I may pretend like I’m working on documentation for a new CMS, but — I’m sorry, who was just appointed to the cabinet? He said what? Oh, for fuck’s sake.

When your heart is worried for your Muslim friends, and deep in your bones you’re terrified about losing access to healthcare, it’s very hard to respond graciously to an email inquiring about the latest microsite analytics numbers. “THE WORLD IS BURNING. I will have those content model updates ready by Thursday. Sincerely, and with abject terror, Eileen.”

By all means, if you’re able to shift your job so that you’re working directly with causes you believe in, go for it. But don’t get stuck on the idea that your job isn’t valuable unless you’ve dedicated your career to a non-profit. All of our work is capable of enabling righteous acts.

Set up automatic donations.Set aside time in your calendar for volunteering and local government work.Schedule time for actual work as well. This seems like a small thing, but it can be pretty huge: instead of trying to get work done in the “unscheduled” gaps of time in your calendar between meetings and calls, schedule time blocks throughout the week to reserve uninterrupted time for yourself.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t wait until you’ve burned out to assess your regular routine with an eye towards sustainability. Repeat after me: It is not a dereliction of duty to care for yourself. Did that make your breath catch a little? Inhale. Exhale. Say it again.

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