Friday, May 14, 2010

Productive Days Feel Good: A Success Story

Some days are better than others. Yesterday was a good one for me. I spent the entire day, from when I woke up at 6am till I went to bed at 10pm, on the computer. I got up to fix meals and do normal stuff like that, but I spent the majority of my time on my laptop.

This might not sound like a good day to everyone, and on many days I might agree, but what felt good about this day was that I got a lot done. I have a number of projects I've been working on for some groups I volunteer with, and I was falling behind on some tasks. Yesterday I got drafts done on four major assignments. Now I just await feedback from the group before finalizing these projects.

True, I wouldn't want to spend every day like that, for that many hours, at least, but what really feels good is accomplishing a goal. I wanted to make serious progress on this group's work and I did!

As I wrote in my last post, there is almost always some pain (physical, emotional, or whatever) in accomplishing our goals. I had to work really hard to put together these promotional materials for the group. Designing brochures and postcards can mean a lot of detailed work. I spent a lot of time in Photoshop and InDesign getting everything just right. I went through numerous drafts before I want ready to send versions out to the appropriate people for comment. That is what it takes to do good work.

Perhaps they won't like it. I've run into this before where my vision of how something should look is different than the people who actually get to make the decisions. I know that the person I sent these drafts to often has very specific ideas of what she wants, something I usually only find out after I have worked on something for awhile. I know that is part of the process and that's okay too. Some of this work won't be fun. It will be tedious and annoying. It will take many hours. It may cause my hands to hurt and give me a headache. I accept this.

Why do I keep doing it? Because I really believe in what I am doing for this group. I want to do it. My work matters to me. I may not get paid, but I still care.

So yesterday was a good day because I persevered. I hope today will be a good day too. I have a video to edit for another group and some press releases to write. I think I am busier in my unemployment than I was when I had a paying job. I will probably look back on this time as great fun when I finally get hired by someone.

I've noticed that our minds can play that trick on us. Times which seemed difficult, stressful, tedious, etc. can become some of the best times of my life. When I was in another state studying for two years, I was lonely, homesick, and miserable a great deal of the time. My schooling was also a lot of hard work. However, when I look back on those two years, I remember them with great fondness. Because I was living away from home, I was able to throw myself into the college life completely; in retrospect, I had a great time. I just didn't realize it at the time it was happening.

This is something I try to remember in the present. Sometimes our "best times" only feel like it in hindsight. It all depends on what you accomplish and whether that has meaning to you later. If so, even the tedious and difficult stuff will become fond memories.

I wish all who read this a very good and productive day. May this day become part of a fond memory for you in the future.

Photo from rAmmonRRison's Flickrstream


  1. Hi Real Me

    It's great that you accomplished so much yesterday, & that you persevered through the difficulties.

    I hope you make progress today too - but even if you don't achieve so much, that's okay too :)

    I wonder if this is part of the pattern of how it suits you to work: that you need some serious pressure (falling behind or needing to hit a firm deadline), and you need to really believe what you're doing, but then you like to do a huge chunk of hard work in a big block. The tradeoff - and there's always a tradeoff, no yang without yin - maybe being that the preceding days have been slacker, and also that you might not be able to sustain the hard work day after day.

    The bottom line is that you got done what needed to be done, & again well done.

  2. Thanks Astral Cat, I admit that I have often needed strict deadlines to get work done. I took FOREVER to finish my dissertation and only really made progress the last year under a new Chair (don't ask about the awful one I had originally!) who gave me strict deadlines.

    I tried a thing where my husband and I had monthly "deadlines" to show each other writing but since he didn't take them seriously, there was no incentive for me not to blow them off.....

    I've gotten less done today but had errands to run and other things and it has been pleasant enough. Part of the problem is that some of my stuff requires help and I have to wait until it is convenient for my husband to help me with a computer issue (which is what I am doing right now--waiting).

    I'm still pleased to have several projects further along....

    Hope your day is going well too.


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