Recently, I wrote about a change in my to-do list. I wrote a similar, though slightly unconnected post on why I don't want to be busy. These ideas connect to my New Year's Resolution this last year. I know, I know. It's a little late to be talking about resolutions but this has been one that I've tried to keep on my mind.
I want to think less about productivity and more about purpose.I'm not sure when it happened but somewhere along the way I got lost. I got busy. I started doing things because I was worried about what people would think. I started feeling like there was this reputation out there and I was somehow supposed to prove myself -- trying to contort my face into a mask of my own creation.
And then . . . it just didn't fit anymore.
I hit a point where I realized I was doing things that didn't fit my purpose or my identity. I had said "yes" to projects because I knew that they looked good. I had said the right things when asked to speak rather than talking about my real passion of watching kids become more creative. I'd say that I was being pulled in a million different directions but the truth is that I was chasing a million different things with no real place to stand.
So, I hit a point where I decided things needed to change. I began wrapping up projects and taking on less work as a result. I started thinking about doing the kind of work that led to a deeper sense of satisfaction. I said "no" more often in the last three months than I had in my lifetime.
I started playing more catch in the backyard. I started going for walks and realizing just how much I missed when I never looked at the moon. I started thinking less about what I wanted to accomplish and more about who I wanted to be.
And here's what it is . . .
I want to learn how to more patient, so I've been embracing silence and I've been thinking about mindfulness more often. It's been slow, but I'm running more often because when I run somehow I'm more patient with people.
I want to be more honest, so I've been sharing more about how things are really going and paying attention to the times when I exaggerate or play up how awesome I've been.
I want to be more present, so I've been doing less and observing more. I'm on Twitter less than ever before. I know, I know. That's not very connected of me, but I want to be connected with the people around me. I want to become a better listener. I'm still learning but it seems to be working.
In terms of creativity, I want to define success less on the outward metrics of who bought what and more in terms of how deeply the work touched one specific person. You won't see the result of this online but I'm learning how to craft a better story so that my kids have a better world that they get lost in when I tell them a bedtime story.
So, I guess it comes down this: I'm thinking a lot less about action and results and a lot more about identity and purpose. I'm almost halfway through this new year and for the first time ever, this resolution seems to be working. I'm more content right now than ever before.
But here's the bizarre part: I'm also more productive. Or at least, I'm more productive on the things that matter. I'm actually running. For real. I'm sticking to deadlines more. I'm finishing annoying tasks that need to be finished because I'm excited about things that matter. So, I blog a little less. I tweet a little less. However, I'm spending more time making things that matter to me -- and, more importantly, I'm spending more time hanging out with people.