Measuring productivity

As I’ve mentioned before, I generally have a vigorously proactive “to-do list” mentality, wanting very keenly to identify what needs doing every day and then doing it efficiently. Not having clear goals at the start of the day or any accomplished objectives at the end of day always leaves me feeling uneasy and not a little bit guilty.

My sister shared this image with me yesterday as a reminder of what is important.


I would like to be able to maintain the presence of mind to practice just those things each and every day. But that “be productive yet calm” part nags at me. What is a productive day?

Today I got up early so I could take the dogs to the groomer, then came home and launched into a full-scale cleaning assault on my kitchen and bathrooms. I did yet more caulking in both the kitchen and bath (I think I’ve got it all now), and disassembled the master bathroom fan to clean out many years’ worth of fuzzy dust and grime. I called my brother to arrange a visit to my parents’ house, which he is helping to rebuild, some time next week. I did two loads of laundry and washed the dishes. I picked up the dogs and we had some lunch. I finished my cleaning and settled down to read for awhile. I balanced my checkbook and answered a couple of emails.

I finally got around to taking a shower about the time the sun set and a real cold wind started blowing, so I skipped walking the dogs, and in so doing felt that my whole day was completely wasted. So disappointing.


This is supposed to be an animated image. If it’s not moving, click the image to see the animated version.

Funny how the mental checklist runs the show. My daily list includes, at minimum, sleeping, eating, showering, blogging, and walking my dogs. If I don’t do all those things, I feel as if I’ve failed myself. And if the thing I don’t do is the walk, I feel as if I’ve failed the dogs, even if I justify it by saying “you got to spend four hours hanging out with all your little buddies at the groomer’s today and that was your treat.”

So I’ll make it up to them tomorrow, weather permitting, and take their freshly shorn keisters up to the river so they can run around. No matter what else I do or don’t get done tomorrow, I will feel productive if I at least make my dogs happy. 😉


4 thoughts on “Measuring productivity

  1. I can sorta relate to this as I’m a recovering perfectionist. 🙂 But I have learned that the world won’t end if everything isn’t perfect or if I don’t get everything on my list done.

    • Perfectionist? Moi? Gee, what gave it away? 😉 I know the world won’t end, I’ll just feel bad until my next “good” productive day. Which, I hope, will be today!

  2. I’m out of my element, I have been blessed and overwhelmed in the last three years. Each day I try to accomplish something but each day I go to bed tired and disappointed. But my family had been taken cared of,feed,cleaned,and put in bed with fresh sheets and clean pajamas,even if mom has not showered or changed her clothes.

    • When you’re the mom of young kids, the “bare minimum” daily to-do list is reduced to a single item: “keep them alive” … or so I’ve heard. 😉 We are, every single one of us, too hard on ourselves. Best to you.

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