Sustainable Productivity is the backbone of the work you are doing to create a life you don’t need to escape. As you are deciding if the adjustment is the right next step for you, ask yourself this question: “Can I continue to do this lifelong?” Not that you must continue forever, but could you if you wanted to. It is ok to change your mind and of course, life changes around you. It is natural that internal and external factors impact our habits. Sometimes the answer to the Sustainable Productivity question (“Can I continue to do this lifelong?”) is no.
To gain more control over habit changes and adjustments, you can break down the Sustainable Productivity question (“Can I continue to do this lifelong?”) into 2 separate parts. This blog post will walk you through that.
Is this sustainable?
The beauty of the Sustainable Productivity questions is that they can apply to all aspects of life.
- Habit change – is this change sustainable?
- Time management – is this schedule sustainable?
- Clothing – is this pinching waistline sustainable?
- Chores – is this pace of mulch spreading sustainable?
What “sustainable” looks like will change as you make adjustments to your activities and as life changes around you. What feels manageable today? Is this something you can maintain lifelong? Not that you HAVE TO, but CAN YOU if you want to?
A habit can be sustainable but not productive. Anyone who has ever binged Netflix knows this. While it may sound fun in the beginning, eventually you find yourself wanting more. Wanting to contribute in a better way.
Which leads to the second Sustainable Productivity question.
Is this productive?
There are so many things that need your attention these days. If you are going to do take an action, that action needs to work for you. It needs to positively contribute toward your life, your goals, your purpose, your values.
In our world we have plenty of examples of non-productivity. We tend to relabel it as laziness or wasting time. I encourage you to define “productive” differently. According to Dictionary.com, productive is defined as achieving or producing a significant amount or result.
What if you redefined “productive” and what “counted” as a significant result in your life? Here are a few ideas:
- Sleeping 7-9 hours each night is productive.
- Blocking travel time into your day to create a realistic schedule is productive – even if that means you get less done.
- Saying no to something that is not a HELL YES is productive.
- Saying yes to an activity that puts wind in your sails is productive – even if that means you leave a chore undone.
You may need to stop and take a deep breath here. Are you uncomfortable just reading that list? Do you have a knot in your belly thinking about missing 1 bedtime tuck-in each month so you can take a pottery class? That is a sign that you are in the right place?
The place where these Sustainable You questions intersect is your sweet spot.
But you have to be able to answer yes to BOTH questions.
A habit can be productive, but not sustainable. For example, getting up at 5:00 am to watch a MasterClass lecture is productive – hobbies and learning are part of a sustainably productive life. But if you are not getting enough sleep and starting to resent that early alarm and hating your hobby, that is not sustainable. Therefore, this habit is not Sustainably Productive.
That sweet spot where sustainable overlaps productive is where Sustainable Productivity lives. This is where you can continue something lifelong if you want to.
You are allowed to change your mind when something is no longer Sustainably Productive for you. In the Sustainable You course you can learn about how to know something isn’t working and which change to make. You can also get dozens of suggestions for adjustments in multiple aspects of life.
As you go through your daily activities and appointments in the upcoming weeks, ask yourself the Sustainable Productivity questions.
Is this sustainable?
Is this productive?
You don’t need to take action at this point, just observe what your intuition is telling you. If you have any reactions or aha moments, comment below. I would love to hear from you!