In the past month, my mom and I have beginning to sporadically read a small devotional that somehow always seems relevant to the current situation. It’s crazy how much a few simple words can speak to you.
Last week, one little tidbit talked about the importance of slowing down and prioritizing what truly matters in life. Rather than feeling held down by a daily to-do list, we should spend our precious time appreciating each moment we have. After all, there’s a reason we only have twenty-four hours each day, and not each hour is meant to be used for productivity. Even robots have to recharge their batteries at some point.
However, I do want to make the distinction of the intentions behind completing certain tasks. Nothing can quite match that feeling of accomplishing a large task or something you’ve really been meaning to do. I don’t think we should feel guilty for having busier days that equate to an endlessly scurrying mouse. Or the other phrase involving a chicken with no head, but I like my chickens still clucking.
Anyways. As someone who prides herself on being hard-working and ambitious, I’m a huge proponent for having goals and constantly evolving yourself to meet them. I always want to feel like I’m moving forward at a decent pace and not slowed down for anything not for the greater good.
Obviously you cannot always be running at full speed. Whether it’s your body, mind, or circumstances, when we get too lost in the fog of work, sometimes we have to run into a wall to actually notice that we’re tired and require rest.
As much as I critique how society strives for instant gratification, quick perfection and benefits at every given moment, there is a very good aspect to finding joy in your work. After all, why would we want to get anything done if there wasn’t a purpose for doing so?
The devotion mentioned earlier was on that frame of mind. We shouldn’t feel compelled to have every inch of lives tidy for the sake of others’ approval. Peer pressure and social media shouldn’t be the driving force in getting us to go certain places or buy certain products just so you don’t feel left out or behind.
At the end of the day, we each are living our own individual lives. Nobody can accurately tell us how to reach a certain caliber or make it better than anybody else’s. We are in the driver’s seat, and only through our spiritual and emotional inquiries do we realize how to lead the best life for ourselves, regardless of how that looks to others.
There is a clear distinction between being young, not helping yourself to at least prepare for what tasks might come ahead, and being open to what life might bring while still doing the best you can at this present moment. The work you do should be to bring joy and fulfillment into your life so you can feel confident about utilizing each day.
And that work could just be taking care of yourself. It could be cleaning your living space for a (probably placebo) effect of feeling rejuvenated. It could be pursuing a passion, finishing a class assignment, or taking steps forward in a certain career. Whatever work may look like to you each day, I really value those who feel that inner drive to not just sit idly by or work simply for the facade of productivity, but to take charge of their own happiness.
College days, constantly changing majors and juggling multiple responsibilities at once like a sideshow carnival act, is certainly a setting that can turn work into a chore. Inevitably, we must all get chores done that we would much rather not be doing or we feel are required of us to do. But this also an ideal time to discover for yourself what work sparks satisfaction and doing it often.
The second we step outside of a college campus, our days will turn into ones devoted to the work force. So if young people aren’t going forward without some solid inclination of supporting themselves from one day to the next, where do they find any drive? How will they feed a hunger for more if they don’t know how to tap into it?
When in doubt, introspection. Ask yourself what makes you happy and how to incorporate that now for the future. Find appreciation in the little moments that we might overlook if it’s just a task to check off the list. Admittedly, I actually really enjoy doing errands, grocery shopping, and general cleaning. And I also enjoy writing for this blog five days a week. And I enjoy finding new opportunities to grow and expand my horizons in a way that can form the foundation for whatever the future might bring. And I enjoy making goals for myself that get me in the head space to prioritize and appreciate.
In having the goals I do, some might think I’m just speeding through life too quickly, and to that, I can occasionally agree that I can be hard on myself. But nonetheless, by leading the life I do, performing what might look like work, I feel I can attract more personal joy that translates into joy in everything else I do. I can be a nicer person. I can welcome people who value the same things with open arms and lots of love.
So if your daily tasks are just endless to-do lists that end up being just busy work, nothing listed that exercises your mind and passion, then it’s time to reevaluate. It’s time to look beyond just mundane and inject joy. While I don’t expect the normal, healthy population to walk as quickly as I do, I think we should adjust how we view productivity. It’s an individual analysis, not a group survey. We must pinpoint what is best for us, and that means not just seeing a future just beyond our sight, but in doing so, examining how to make the most of the present.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie