My Facebook feed and inbox are full of resources and reminders of how to kick goals and be more productive than ever this new year. There are planners to buy, courses to do, worksheets and printables to break the goals down into manageable pieces, all to help make this year my most successful ever.
I am usually a big New Year’s Resolution setter. I love having big goals and plans for how to achieve them. While I don't always achieve everything I set out to, usually my goals have helped me to produce more than I would have without them.
I’m not sure why, but this New Year, things feel different.
This time last year I wrote a post on the struggle between being productive and being content. You can read it here. This year, there is no contest. In 2018, I have just one goal, to be more unproductive than ever before.
I began reading my Bible from the beginning again, following The Bible Project reading plan. On the very first day, I read this...
Right at the very beginning, after the first six days of creation, God took a day to rest. He then blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. From the very beginning, God instituted a holy day, to rest.
I've read this passage countless times. What struck me this new year as I reread these familiar words is that it was the very beginning. The world was just six days old. 6 days. How tired can you be after six days?
God didn’t wait until the world was tired, overwhelmed and close to burnout to then call a vacation day. No, from the very beginning He planned a routine of sustainable work and rest.
The word Sabbath means to stop work. Sadly, in our culture of productivity and achievement, we value work highly, and we find it difficult to stop and rest. Unfortunately, this is my story, so my resolution for the new year is to learn to Sabbath, to stop work, and to be unproductive.
I am slowly learning how to do this better. What I have found is that the things I do on my rest days distract me from my stress, but do little to help me recover and recreate. So, this year I am planning on being much more intentional about how I spend my rest time.
I find it very easy to have the TV on in the background. It adds little value to my life, and I often feel just as tired after a couple of hours on the couch than I did before I sat down. It has become a lazy habit that I need to be intentional about limiting.
Less Social Media
I admit it. I enjoy social media. I love to stay connected with friends and family all around the world. I love to see photos of babies and holiday destinations. I enjoy connecting with other bloggers and simple living enthusiasts and being a part of their conversations. But, it is very time-consuming. This year I plan on having ‘social media free Friday,’ every Friday. This one is going to be hard, but I know it will be good for me.
I have recently gotten back into the habit of reading regularly. Just a few chapters a day can feed my passion, fill me with creativity, inspire me to try new things and encourage me to persevere. This is time much better spent than watching TV or scrolling through my Facebook feed. I have some great books on my list for this year, and I am excited to learn and grow from the experience and wisdom of others.
More time with God
I never walk away disappointed when I spend time with God, engaging with His word, talking to Him, listening. This is the time that fills me up and gives me the capacity to serve. Without intentional routine and discipline, I find it challenging to spend regular quality devotional time. I always need a plan to follow, a box to tick, some accountability. I recently bought a journaling Bible with some birthday money, and I have enjoyed putting pen to paper adding notes, insights and art to the pages of my favourite scriptures.
In my final 2017 post, I shared how I enjoyed celebrating well. (Read it here.) This year, I will continue to celebrate. I will enjoy time with my children who have grown up to be wonderful adults. Their lives are busy and full, but I will keep creating opportunities for us to spend time and make memories together. I will date my husband every Friday night and enjoy this season of our marriage.
Unhurried, unproductive time. Time to think, listen, laugh and cry. Time to potter in the garden, sew my quilt, and chat with my husband. Time to connect with friends and build authentic relationships. Time for creativity. Time for inspiration. Time to write.
I have a hunch that this one New Year’s Resolution, to have regular high-quality unproductive time, will make this year one of the most productive years yet. I will go into my six days of work from a place of health, peace and confidence, built on intimacy with God, healthy family relationships and a peaceful mind.
I hope that you achieve great things this year, and that somewhere on your list of goals is some good quality unproductivity.