Every day, some new article on how to maximize productivity lands in my inbox or appears as I scroll through Facebook. The one I got yesterday promised me that if I followed this person’s plan, I could have an entire day’s work done by 9 a.m., just as all those other suckers (read: those not on “The Plan”) were beginning their day.
I’m sure whoever devised the plan and the marketing for it actually believed this might be an appealing thought. And maybe it is for some people, but all it made me want to do was go back to bed.
Now, I could be more productive and I could use my time more wisely during the day, no question about that. But do I want to pay hundreds of dollars to figure out how to pack every moment so full of activity and scrabbling and doing that not a single second is “wasted” (meaning, spent doing nothing but daydreaming, napping, contemplating life, having a coffee with a friend, or just plain being)? Umm, no.
As Charles Stanley once said, “God’s voice is still and quiet and easily buried under an avalanche of clamor.” If God’s voice is still and quiet, and I long to hear God’s voice, doesn’t it follow that I need to be still and quiet myself, at least once in a while?
Instead of following one of the many “plans” I see advertised every day, I prefer to draw my life lessons from my dogs, new additions to the family. Now those puppies know how to just be.
They’re not puppies, actually. They’re 8 years old or, in people years, a few years older than I am, so in my book they have earned the right to slow down a little. And while they do love to walk and play and be scratched and cuddle, when no one is available to do these things with them, they are perfectly content to flop down wherever they may be and relax for a while.
When I get stressed, or overwhelmed by work, or exhausted by my to-do list, I like to stop and just watch those dogs, the happiest, most relaxed beings I know on the planet, for a few minutes. They remind me that it’s actually okay to slow down sometimes. That rest is good too, not just for the body, but for the soul. A few minutes with them and I can take a deep breath and get back to work.
I may not get a day’s worth of tasks done by 9 am on a regular basis (or ever, actually) but when I do get back to it, I can generally finish whatever I absolutely need to get done that day, and do it with a smile on my face and a lot less tension in my muscles. And, frankly, that’s plenty productive enough for me.
Press on, my friends.