My mother tasked me to apply for scholarship. Not for me but for my sister. For some reason, however, I never followed through. I slept through the day (yet again). And I never got to my school, the same school where I should have applied for my sister’s scholarship. I am the eldest among my siblings and, in our culture, my younger siblings + their future is my responsibility as much as my parents’ (or so I was led to believe). That’s just the way it was. And I failed. I didn’t get to enroll my sister in a private, (sort of) prestigious institution where she could have spent her high school days. I should have known better.
In hindsight, however, so many things have happened for my sister even though she didn’t get that scholarship. She has achieved so many academic accolades in her school and, in fact, graduated as salutatorian. She honed and used her talents very well. I like to think she would have thrived in whatever school she was placed. The setting was not as significant as her innate qualities and talent.
But still I couldn’t understand why I had been so lax even if things were important to me. And I realize it’s because of deeply rooted stories in my childhood that I’m not so keen to discuss on here as of the moment (it is quite lengthy). Let’s just say, we all have different histories that make us different individuals and that we truly do the best we can with the past + the circumstances we have.
It would have been easy to keep berating myself for every single mistake I made in the past. But I had to put in the effort and understanding of how treating myself kindly benefited not just myself but also everyone else around me. I carried this lesson as I started working in corporate-ish jobs and quitting said jobs. I still carry this lesson as I am now happily using my creativity to create digital content.
Given my Type B, super laid-back nature, I have somewhat figured out the sweet spot between self-compassion and persistence in work.
1 | Being productive and kind
Truth be told, I was battling earlier whether to get up and write this article or to stay flat on my bed. This was a certain point in my day when I’ve recently finished tweaking with the code on my website. And I was just laying there on the bed, a little bit tired but knowing I can still do more.
You might have been in a similar situation where you’re not sure whether you need a nap, a hug, or a 4th cup of coffee. And there’s still work to do. LOTS of work to do.
You wonder whether you’re still making good on both your work and the things you keep reminding yourself about being kind to yourself.
Not ready to give up just yet, I stood up from the bed and made myself a sandwich out of crackers and Nutella. I poured myself a four seasons juice and went back to my laptop.
Being kind to yourself while being productive isn’t just about pausing from work (although that’s an excellent idea too) but also taking care of yourself as you’re doing the work. Maybe make yourself a snack, drink a glass of water, hug someone dear to you? Maybe it is also asking yourself if you’ve been listening to your body and giving it some TLC.
In my case, I needed that little bit of rest and snack because, afterwards, I felt refreshed and ready to get back to writing again.
2 | Being productive and patient
Because I’m constantly consuming content from people whom I admire (and would want to theoretically trade places with), I’m frequently aware of how it would feel and be like to be in that next level. But sometimes, I get impatient and start delaying what I should have been doing. I just want to get to the next level already.
I know this isn’t how life happens though. I can’t just wish myself into the future. There’s a reason these blocks are placed in front of me.
Anything that takes time usually end up being the most meaningful.
The stuff that we wait and work for patiently might sometimes appear to be uneventful. And maybe it really is simply the nature of work to look as though nothing fun can come out of it. But the trick to enjoying the journey is to make lemonade out of the lemons or apple pie out of the apples, if you know what I mean.
How do you make use of the things that are given to you? How do you adapt?
3 | Being productive and STAYING productive
I have to be a persistent human to get things done. I am so Type B by nature that I will just chill in bed listening to podcasts all day and call it a day. And I would not even judge myself for a nanosecond.
On the other hand, there are so many of you who are wonderful, amazing Type A personalities just slaying tasks all day long. I admire that trait. A true go-getter attitude = badassery, yes ma’am.
But for me I need lots of “lazy” time. It’s how I unwind and relax and get myself to be productive back again. But not checking in with myself in the middle of chilling is bad news for me because I tend to just stick to the wonderful pleasures and leisures in my immediate environment.
So I remind myself mentally to be persistent. To gain momentum. Otherwise, I would not have anything done. And I would probably regret not doing more than doing and making mistakes.
Hence, in order to be productive, I also need to stay productive.
If you’re also Type B and you’re aiming for something enormous in your life and business/ work, you get me. I get you. I got you. Keep persisting, my friend. We WILL get there.
Finding kindness, patience, and persistence is a daily process. It is not a one-off, one-night-stand thing. It is a marrying-into-these-qualities kind (hopefully without the probability of divorce). Some days will look like low motivation, low energy, and low vibes. But that’s okay. You don’t have to be in perfect conditions to do perfect work all the time. It is precisely called work because it takes effort. Whether you’re working on writing content (like I am) or creating and recording e-courses or you’re in an office job or you’re a medical professional, good work takes effort. Aligned work takes effort. And you will get there, but also remember kindness. Remember patience. And depending on your needs or your vibe, remember persistence. 😉