Exuberant Productivity is Possible
No. 151 | By Christine Carron
When you think about being productive, what comes to mind? Perhaps phrases like buckle down or crack the whip flit through your brain. Or you start mapping out a time and task schedule that is so intensive you maintain it for a week at most—which is when you cry Uncle! and give up.
And then what happens? Perhaps your Inner Critic sashays on stage and asks, What exactly, for all that is holy in this world, is wrong with you? Why can’t you make progress on your writing dreams when you so clearly want to make progress on your writing dreams? Seriously, what is wrong with you?
Enough with that already. There is nothing wrong with you.
Perhaps your productivity toolbox is a little meager at the moment, or perhaps the tools are in it are a bit out of date, but those are totally solvable issues. And to get started solving them, all it takes is the belief (i.e., a leap of faith) that harshness is not required to be productive.
Once you make that shift, your brain will automatically open to the tools, strategies, tactics, and practices that will help you create consistent, easeful flow.
Let’s make 2024 the year we ditch punitive productivity methods once and for all and embrace the possibility and reality of exuberant productivity.
Are you in?
I, myself, am so in. Indeed, Exuberant productivity for all! is Goodjelly’s new catch phrase. On the blog this year, I will be playing with this concept of exuberant (i.e., overflowing, abundant) productivity. Leaning into it. Clarifying it even further. So, if you are in, you've come to the right place.
Today, let’s start with what I know on this eighth day of 2024.
It’s a Bit Revolutionary
With its three pillars of progress—Smart Process, Grounded Power, and Inner Kindness—Goodjelly has been about exuberant productivity since its inception even though I hadn't yet framed it so. What I recently (and finally truly) understood, however, is exactly how dramatically different my approach to productivity is compared to the norm. (I'm used to it after all.)
In the words of one writer, Goodjelly is "a bit revolutionary."
That was the moment I realized I needed to find a way to distinguish Goodjelly-style productivity from more traditional productivity methods. Enter exuberant.
How different is Goodjelly’s approach? One of the writers who participated in Plan for Done (Goodjelly’s annual planning challenge) and who is starting in the Jam Straight today asked me if I had “set up [Goodjelly’s] programs to cater for the neurodiverse mind?”
She added that the reason she was asking was because, “This is the first time ever I have been told not to make ‘hard goals’, or to put deadlines on [an annual] plan, but to also consider the invisible work and pivots/tangents/derailments. I have tried lots of planning tools over the years – most last a week (if I am lucky) and I feel like a flat failure when inevitably I fail. This is the first time I think I have [an annual] plan that will show growth and success.”
She was not a one off. Other words folks used to describe the plans they ended up with at the end of Plan for Done (which is just one part of Goodjelly's full toolkit) were surprising, remarkable, hopeful, kind and playful. That is not a typical collection of words that folks use to describe a traditional annual planning approach for sure.
To answer her question, I shared that I hadn’t designed Goodjelly’s approach in context of neurodiversity as it is appreciated today. I have, however, been helping people learn since I was ten years old, when I started helping my dance teacher teach the "little" kids.
I have worked with thousands of people since then, in all walks of life and contexts, helping them achieve what they want to achieve with greater ease and joy. As a result, my working assumption is that everyone thinks differently, because, in my experience, they do.
That brings me to my second point about exuberant productivity . . .
No Contorting Required
Most productivity methods require you to shove yourself into the box of that method. That is so not sustainable.
Exuberant productivity fits you. It works with you. It supports you. It’s spacious. Seriously, no process contorting required.
One of the writers in the Jam Straight mentioned in a recent call that she felt awkward telling folks that she was working with a productivity coach. She knew that statement immediately made her friends think she was creating massive to-do lists, scheduling her time to the nth degree, and doing whatever else traditional productivity coaches tell writers to do.
I don’t do that. I don’t tell any writer what to do. I teach principles of productivity so that you can shape a process that works with you. For you. That fits you like a tailor-made suit.
Then you will be able to create flow no matter what. And that brings us to a final point about exuberant productivity.
It carries you forward
Traditional productivity is very effortful. It starts effortful (attempting to map out exact schedules and timelines months out; trying to predict every potential twist and turn that might arise; brainstorming ways to bully yourself into productivity submission; mentally bracing yourself to be internally bullied, etc.) and stays effortful for as long as you try to maintain it. Why?
Well, because of everything in the parentheses in the previous paragraph, and because, again, as stated in the section above, you are usually working against your natural creative flow instead of with it.
Exuberant productivity is a completely different experience. While there certainly is an investment of time to learn and integrate the tools and processes of exuberant productivity, once you have integrated them, the dynamic of your writing adventure changes. Your are able to rest into the process. Let it carry you and your writing forward.
Your flow becomes lighter. More playful. More hopeful. And, most definitely, more easeful.
One of the writers in the Jam Straight recently shared that she had to make the space where she manages her writing work bigger because she was getting so much more done than was her norm when she started the program. Wahoo to that!
One of the inspirations for the name Goodjelly came from the way jellyfish move. They don’t push through the water, they clear the space in front of them, and then flow forward. It's beautiful imagery for easeful progress versus effortul progress.
Exuberant productivity happens when you let go of the old-school, battering ram productivity techniques that don’t fit you and embrace the (revolutionary) possibility that easeful, gliding productivity is possible. Learnable. And so delightfully fun.
You've got this!
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