I was catching up on episodes from one of my favorite podcasts when I heard productivity coach, Rose-Anne Uwague, say something I have been pondering since my career reinvention and becoming a mom3. Uwague was like, “We need to choose Grace over the grind.”
She goes on to describe a lifestyle that is holistic, free of workaholism, and rooted in self-care.
It’s fair to say I’ve been grinding all of my teenage and young adult life.
As I approach my mid-thirties, I admit– some things related to grind mode no longer feel good or conducive. Six or seven years ago, my grind looked something like this:
Check my email every nanosecond. Even if I’m holding a newborn baby– All emails are getting checked and responded to.
Also while holding a baby, research playwriting, publication, and proposal opportunities. Analyze the guidelines. Even if it’s not a good fit, submit anyway. Even if I don’t feel like I’m ready for such an opportunity, SUBMIT SUBMIT SUBMIT! Submit to everything. Go to the running list/document where I keep tabs on every opportunity I’ve submitted to. Update the list. Provide the response time. Update CV while at it.
Wake up at odd hours of the night to write and meet deadlines. Check emails again while I’m at it.
Prep for courses.
Eat while I work.
Socializing is overrated. Just work.
Family will understand. Just work.
It will all pay off.
Have more coffee.
Prove them wrong.
Show them I belong at the table.
And that was life. I was glued to the computer, frantically meeting deadlines, and documenting my progress along the way.
I remember feeling productive, but as I look back at those grind patterns (and productivity-related posts that often show up in my Facebook memories), I can see how I set myself up for a major burnout.
I can also see how God kept me through my habit of overworking (and my addiction to checking emails) and operating outside of my purpose.
“Working smart” over working hard is often recommended, and that’s good advice to live by. I’m not saying that hard work doesn’t pay off. My vitae is a result of my hard work, but my peace of mind comes from my new approach to handling business. Bottom line: I no longer let work consume me, and never again will a job ever own me. As a result, I am very selective about the projects I invest in and what I give my energy to.
Not only have I learned to work smarter, I’ve also learned how to let food digest and rest properly. More importantly, I’ve learned when to choose God’s timing over my own.
This is why on my path to career reinvention it has taken me seven months to complete a goal I could’ve realized in one day. What was different about this type of work and why did it take me so long?
1. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was having to tap into fresh skillsets, therefore I had to cultivate an understanding along the way.
2. I kept getting interrupted. This gave me anxiety at first and then I started seeing how valuable the “not yets” were. I was able to think about what I was doing. I was able to confront my confusion and ask questions. The interruptions blocked my hasty thoughts from going onto paper. And most importantly, I grew in Grace. When I tell you the outcome was so well-timed…
All I can say is thank-God for giving me the courage to reinvent myself professionally.
Thank-God for Grace!
…And for coffee!
I will always love coffee. 😊
To listen to the episode that inspired this post, visit The Great Girlfriends Podcast and check out the segment on “Avoiding Productivity Landmines”.
Clinnesha D. Sibley is an award-winning playwright and published poet/essayist. She is the Literary Arts Instructor at Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven, MS. For more information, please visit: http://onepagerapp.com/clinneshadsibley.