Monday, February 23, 2015

6 Ways to Balance Productivity and Rest

I tend to operate in extremes-either I have a really productive day at work and totally kick ass, or I get almost nothing accomplished yet still feel exhausted at the end of the day. The same goes for my weekends-I either refuse to touch the overflowing basket of dirty laundry and ignore the dog hair collecting in the corners of the hardwood and stay in my pi's all weekend, or I race around running errands, shopping, meeting with friends, and doing house chores that I feel exhausted by Sunday evening. As good as the restful weekend with nothing but a Netflix binge on the agenda sounds, it actually leaves me feeling more stressed and overwhelmed when Monday rolls around and I don't have any food in the house for the week or any clean clothes for work. I am the type of person who doesn't function well in a mess, but I also hate housework which proves to be quite the problem.

Lately I've been trying to find a balance between productivity and rest. A productive weekend does make my week go smoother, but especially now that I am pregnant, I also have to find time to rest and recharge to avoid that end of the week burnout that so frequently hits me. What I have learned though is that while I absolutely cannot do it all, if I do a series of small things, I feel a lot more peace in my home and office.  Here are six ways I balance productivity and rest, especially on the weekends.

1. Set priorities
Each weekend, I make a mental list of what I absolutely have to get done, and a list of what I'd like to get done. Things like grocery shopping and laundry are a must do every weekend, and we always have church Sunday mornings. Those things generally are my priorities, but I also choose a few chores that I'd like to get to, but won't beat myself up if they don't get done. This past weekend, I managed to do most of the chores except the bathrooms, so I will fit those in early this week. As long as I get my must do's done, I give myself grace to rest if I need it and rest easy knowing the other things will still be there tomorrow or the next day for me to do.

2. Don't overbook
Its so easy to want to fill my weekend days with brunch, coffee dates, shopping, cleaning, and blogging. Whenever I do this, I always regret it. One of my goals this year is to be intentional about building my community, so I love getting together with my girlfriends or our couple friends, but I try to actually look at my calendar before committing to something to make sure I am not spending all weekend running from one activity to the next, leaving me less time for rest and less time for those "must do" chores.

3. Set a timer 
This is probably my most used tool for getting things done quickly. I will set the timer for fifteen minutes and de-clutter the downstairs before bed, or on Saturday mornings I will set it for an hour and clean as much as I can in that hour. Its amazing how much one person can get done when they're not distracted by the TV, texting, and social media! I make myself work hard til the timer goes off, and then either give myself a break or sometimes I call it good for the day.

4. Divide and conquer
Ronnie and I both work full time, and he is also in school, and I babysit a few nights a week and want to devote time to my blog so for us, we usually split the chores somewhat in half. I usually grocery shop, he cooks. He does the downstairs floors, I do the laundry. He does the outside chores, I do the vacuuming. It works for us, and sometimes I help with dinner or he does a few loads of laundry to help each other out, but by dividing the chores up, neither of us spends an entire day doing chores but the house doesn't get neglected either.

5. Disconnect
One of the best things I can do for myself (but don't do enough) is to disconnect from social media for a day, or even a few hours! Not only do I have more time to get the things done on my to-do list, I also find myself spending my free time engaging in conversation with my husband, reading a good book, or doing another activity that fills me up instead of leaves me feeling discontent and lacking like an hour of social media scrolling often does. Its embarrassing how much time I waste laying on my couch after work scrolling my social media apps. One day an hour passed and I was just thinking of all the things I could've used that hour for, things that likely would've brought more joy or fulfillment than social media does!

6. Do one small thing each day
Ronnie and I clean the kitchen almost every night after dinner, otherwise it would get out of control real fast with the amount of cooking we do. I also try and do one load of laundry or do a small chore like dusting or cleaning the toilets each day, that way when the weekend comes, we don't have an unmanageable list of to-dos.

I love a good day of pjs and TV binging, but I try and balance them out by getting some of the things on my list done before or immediately after a day like that so I don't have an entire week of trying to play catch up to all the things I neglected. Do you have any tips for balancing productivity and rest on the weekends? I'd love to hear them!

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