If you’re one of those “go with the flow”, “glass is half-full”, “I’ll get it done tomorrow” kind of people, you may not understand this.

Opposite people (like me) will understand this completely.

I hate not being productive.
Yes, I do my fair share of slacking off and socializing…now.
Believe it or not, that was a learned behavior.

Ask anyone—my friends, my study groups, my husband—and they would probably peg me with this quote.

“What’s the plan?”

At school, at home…on vacation (seriously).

I like to know what’s going on, how it will be happening, and what I need to prepare in order for that to happen.

Even if it’s “doing nothing”, I need a time frame.

If you’re juggling a lot in life, this is really the only way that you can survive it all.
Have a plan. Not minute-by-minute, mind you. That would drive you crazy.

I like to take a more general approach. I do well with To-Do lists. If it’s not on the list, it probably won’t get done.

Unfortunately, that would often include family time.

In the past year or so, I’ve had a huge paradigm shift about this word “productive”.

(Maybe I should just have a “Word of the Day” blog with as many definitions as I put in here…)

productive– (adjective)

producing or able to produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities;
achieving or producing a significant amount or result

Try answering these questions…really.

1. What are your goals?
2. What steps do you need to take to achieve said goals?
3. Is what I’m doing right now helping me to achieve the goals that I have?

Now, there is a balance between work and play, so please don’t hear what I’m not saying.


I think it’s easy to be focused on ONE thing. Whether you have a career or kids or school or whatever…

We tend to think that our productivity is measured by ONE of our goals.

(My default tends to be the whole career/work thing.)

But when I actually sit down and write out what ALL of my goals are, I realize something very important.

The time that I spend building relationships is just as important to achieving my goals as studying.

Productivity can’t always be measured by how many things I check off of my To-Do list. You can’t always write in “spontaneous movie night”.

To me, having a good relationship with my family is a “significant result”.
Making sure that my daughter knows that she is loved is a “significant result”.
Being healthy so that I can enjoy life is a “significant result”.

In order to do that, I have to reevaluate how I categorize certain activities in my life.

Spending the Afternoon with my family = productive
Sleeping = productive
Spending a few extra minutes picking up healthy food instead of hitting a drive-thru = productive
Having “me time” (WITHOUT BOOKS) so that I’m mentally sane = productive.
Having Dinner with my Family = productive (This is a good example.)

So if you are one of those self-realized Type A-ers like me, please redefine “productive” for yourself.

Ease up on yourself.
Life is now. Enjoy it.

That is being productive.

4 responses to “Productive”

  1. I agree completely. I’m the person who gets focused on completing one goal and lose sight of all the other productive things I could be doing in the time when, inevitably, I can’t be working on that one goal. And you are right that there are little things that we do in our day that are productive, even if we might not typically believe them to be so. Well said!