I haven’t shared on this blog in over two weeks, a fact which has tormented me every single day. It almost feels as if I have been gone for over a month, since the voice in the back of my mind continually reminds me that I am not getting anything done.
This isn’t true, because in that time I have packed, moved, and finished my finals, but for some reason, knowing this doesn’t help. I honestly couldn’t tell you what's more frustrating than that - having unproductive thoughts inform you that you’re not good enough, over and over again.
As a blogger, our socially driven landscape doesn’t help, because with each day that passes you can literally watch your engagement drop as your followers walk away. After working hard to build your platforms, there’s not much room in the way of positive reinforcement, when you need to take a break.
So what can we do about this?
Sometimes You Have to Check Yourself
Thinking about the messages shared by some of today's most influential thought leaders, what do they always say? They tell their followers that the key to success is being on time. It’s showing up and staying present. This is true, and I won’t argue with that. I see it all around me, from the projects I do, to my performance in school. Committing your all makes a difference.
However, you can’t deny that this culture of always being “on” is toxic. This mentality creates a lifestyle where taking a break is equivalent to being unproductive, and to some, it may indicate that you’ve given up. In most cases, this isn’t true. So if your mind ever wanders to this negative realm, please take the time to evaluate your thoughts. It’s okay to criticize your thoughts! Especially when they’re not contributing anything positive to your situation.
Still, reevaluating your thoughts isn’t enough. How do you fight feelings of mediocrity? We’re human after all. We need a way to work smarter rather than harder if we’re going to survive today’s world.
Personally, I've been “unproductive” because of mental blocks that have erected themselves in my mind. Focusing on so many different goals, from getting A’s in every class (which didn’t happen this semester) to keeping group work on track and packing, while dealing with threats from trolls, it’s hard to put your all into creative work.
Inevitably, dividing your concentration between so many projects, will dilute your end result.
The Solution is More Obvious than It Seems
At the moment, I don’t have a definite solution for thriving in today's world. However, I can say that I have an inkling as to how to mitigate the mental blocks, though it’s not as easy as it is simple. I know, that sounds pretty contradictory - hear me out.
Goals and growth, are unachievable without action. Therefore, the key to creating change is to DO. You have to put yourself out there and make yourself vulnerable to the world. Does this fix the issue of burn out and overcommitment? No. However, paired with prioritization and efficiency, you can create change where it matters.
Focus your energy on the things that matter most (to you). We always forget the “us” in the equation, which is exactly how we get trapped in corners with no way out. Flip your mindset from, “What needs to be done,” to “What do I need to do”.
Here's an example:
Ask yourself: What do I need to do to make a difference? Then, accept the answer as a base for your solution. While writing this, I asked myself: What do I need to do to grow my blog? The answer, I need to post more often. How will I post more often? By writing every day.
That’s the simple part. From there, it gets harder. You have to balance your goal with the reality that you have other commitments. For instance, I will be now writing everyday. Although I’ll try to post as often as I’m writing, sometimes life will get in the way. AND THAT’S OKAY. The key to making this work is accepting that you'll have to compromise.
Sure, I won’t get to spend hours writing a post, but I shouldn't be spending hours writing one post in the first place. There will always be a, “but” that’s keeping you from achieving progress. However, without creating a history on which to reflect, you won’t be able to look back from a place of growth. So add another “but” to that hesitation, and make them cancel each other out. Yes, I may have to start a piece without knowing exactly what I’m writing, but some of the best creations are made that way.
Create the Change You Wish to See
If you’re stuck or not seeing growth in any aspect of your life, then try this technique. Simply ask yourself, “What do I need to do to make a difference? Accept the answer, and then work with it to find a solution that will help you leave that stagnant place. Focus your commitments, get out of your head, and DO. Only in doing, can we create the change we wish to see.