Have you ever felt so overwhelmed, so depressed, or so upset that you just couldn’t concentrate or find the motivation to get things done? What if I told you that there is a really easy way to do some of the most productive work you’ve ever done at these times?
A Real Struggle
The other day I was on the phone with someone who opened up to me about some of the struggles she was dealing with. There have been several incidents in her life recently that have caused her a great deal of stress. Between the failing health of a family member, a housing crisis, and all the demands of both, she was feeling overwhelmed and depressed.
She had a large number of demands on her time and she was struggling. How could she be productive when she couldn’t even find the time to breath? Her world was thrust into chaos and she was struggling to be productive in the middle of a meteor storm.
Life in the Pit
I could definitely relate to this experience. It’s something I know all too well. A few months prior I felt compelled to write a blog post about it – an allegory about a man who finds himself in a pit. As I worked on the post, it continued to grow. Over days and weeks it became a short story that I expounded and made into a book that is scheduled to be released next month.
So I felt fortunate to be able to share with this person some things I had discovered over time. I was able to share with her that it’s okay to feel this way and that she was grieving; the life she was used to was out of her grasp and it felt like a loss to her. I shared with her that the anger she was experiencing was a side effect of this.
But she worried about getting things done. She struggled with her lack of motivation. She knew there was a lot to do at home and a lot to do at work. She felt she wasn’t measuring up. So I told her how she could make this her most productive time ever.
How to Be Your Most Productive
As we sat on the phone I explained to her how I had been in her situation, and how I would sit in a chair and rack my brain to find any reason to get out of it. I would sit for 5, 10, 15 minutes or more, trying to find any reason at all to move my body. It seemed to take forever before one would come.
But I had found out how to be the most productive at times like this. I had found a way to have the most forward progress when I felt like I was going backward. And I shared that with her.
Rest is productive. Healing is productive. Recharging is productive. If you had just had open heart surgery and you immediately left the hospital to go back to work, you are not being productive; you are endangering future productivity by avoiding what you need to do in that moment: heal.
If you want to be at your most productive in times when you are struggling with pain and heartache, heal. That IS being productive. It’s being your most productive. Because it’s what your mind and body need in order to recover so you can be in the best shape you can be.
In times of stress and pain, take time to heal. It’s the most productive you can be.