I was always rushing. And apologising. And underestimating. Because someone wanted this, someone else had promised that, we already had X to do, and Y had popped up.
In life, I wanted to please, I wanted to do all the things, drive home in a reasonable time with peakhour traffic, fit a gym class in, drink wine, call my family, run my business.
The paradox of productivity
Chelsea Bond spoke at a recent Women’s Agenda conference about the paradox of productivity. She said COVID19 had suddenly introduced an understanding in everyone about the lack of productivity. It was now acceptable. Recognising the privilege of solid employment, as things were cancelled and slowed, she indicated she was present in ways she wasn’t pre-COVID because she’d been so caught up in the productivity loop.
Sometimes productivity is just another word for busy. And sometimes busy isn’t always needed. If it’s one thing I’ve learned in more than a month of shutdown it’s what I care about and what I value. Freedom to choose. Being healthy. Contact with friends and family. Work. Fun.
This has tested us
Not having all of those things, or being restricted in some, are the things that have tested my mental health and resilience, just like it has may others’.
I’ve tried to accept, to “pivot”, to learn, to adjust and to wait. It’s the waiting that has in fact been the hardest; the not knowing.
As I watched the PM’s media conference and absorbed the national three-step program for release I felt a little hope and a little fear. I wanted some ‘outs’ but not too many because of a sincere lack of faith in people’s ability to follow rules that keep them safe.
Waiting until Monday for the Victorian Premier was excruciating and also, for many, an anticlimax. However, he nailed the two things I care the most about it when it boils down to it. Seeing my family and friends. Oh, and a third happened – my hairdresser felt safe enough to reopen.
It was obvious Victoria’s stage one didn’t help everyone and it’s a long road back. I had the luxury of being okay with that slow road back.
Seeing the next steps announced in dribs and drabs is equally excruciating for those whose businesses need certainty and guidance – and hope.
But for some, like me, this slow release is a chance to start to right the world, stop floating and consider what the future may be like without as much fear as there was going in to iso.
The other normal
Chelsea Bond also commented that she doesn’t want to go back “to the other normal”.
Neither do I. This new normal needs to be a little different.
What does it really look like?
- An opportunity
- A hard slog
- Increased workplace hygiene and no more soldiering on….
- A new workday rhythm
- A new workday location
- A more gentle chasing of new dreams
- Increased gratitude for the quiet times
- More love of family and friends
- More hugs
- Less dependence on things
- Less harshness
How many days does it take to create a new habit? The world appears keen. But memories are short.
Is this truly our most teachable moment ?
And how much can we be taught?