How I Became More Relaxed & Productive Than Ever

Backstory: For my job, I was enrolled in a Solution-Focused Coaching training program.

As practice we trained with a few different techniques, among which one where the coachee had to have a goal and using The Ideal Situation and a scale from 1 (the worst) to 10 (the Ideal Situation) the coach lets the coachee find the Ideal Situation — and consequently what needs to be done to get there. 

I was the coachee, and my colleague was my coach and my goal was: to become more disciplined.

So he started to ask me questions about the ideal situation, to paint a picture of my dream discipline scenario in my life. Once we had done that, we used the scale to assess where I was at in my life and where I could still go.

(That’s the beauty of solution based coaching: it excites you and gets you going without the coach even needing to push) 

As we were working through the exercise I came to the following conclusions. 

  • If perfect discipline was a 10, I was already at a 7. 
  • Next to the job I work 4 days a week, I manage to juggle several side gigs without any stress. 
  • I make my breakfast and lunch for 2 work days on either Sunday or Wednesday nights. 
  • I have been working out 3 to 5 times a week on average for two years now.
  • I write a few hours a week on whatever it is I need to work on.
  • I may be a total amount of 0% invested in the cleanliness or tidiness of my house but the laundry is done, the kitchen is clean and I can usually work in my office without getting frustrated with the mess. 
  • I see friends and family once or twice a week, sometimes even more. 
  • I spend quality time with my boyfriend.
  • There is enough time for me to sit around and do whatever the fuck I want, which is a necessity for me. 

As I was summing up everything I realised: Things were already going pretty well! Yay!

I have wanted to become more disciplined my entire life. I always felt like I fell short in that department, which could make me frustrated and procrastinate more and make me even more frustrated.

But somehow, over the course of the past few years I have become my most disciplined yet relaxed self. 

Let’s talk. How the fuck did this happen?

The circumstances are totally right

Only since last year, I realise the impact of a stable and calm personal life, and how much more space that creates for discipline.  You are able to do so much more with your time and energy if you have a balanced and calm life.

A stable foundation doesn’t have to mean a relationship at all: It just means a home base, a non-stressful environment and relatively little stress from uncertainties and logistics.

Is your apartment falling apart? Are you in a weird-and-stressful relationship with someone across the country? Do your parents demand a lot from you all the time? Are your roommates actual demons whose sanatic chanting schedules you have to work around? This all means you have less opportunity and energy to invest in your own stuff, because you’re occupied with all that stuff. 

I hadn’t realized, but all the going back and forth that dating Vincent entailed took a lot of actual and mental energy. Am I sleeping there tonight? If not, do I have groceries at my own house? Should I bring gym clothes for the next day? When I’m going back to my place? There was literally less time but also energy and cognitive capacity to be disciplined in whatever I wanted to do. 

Now we live together, we both have jobs we like, we’re relaxed and we share the workload of the household fully fifty-fifty. Which means both of us have more energy for other stuff. 

So I am able to put that energy into stuff I love to do!

It’s more interest & curiosity than need at this point

I am pretty happy most of the time, and even when I’m not giddy I’m still fine. I am a functioning, decent human being with her shit together.

Even if I never blogged again, never exercised again, never did any more side gigs or writing projects, I’d have my shit together and like myself as a person.

From that solid starting point, I’m just messing around and seeing what I can do with my time and my talents (which are nothing more than my hobbies that I spent a lot of time on).

I like maintaining some Adulting routines like meal prepping for work – as it makes my life easier (and my work lunches more delicious than the cafeteria stuff). I enjoy exercising so I do that. I love writing, so I do that.

Could I be pushing harder? Yes. Do I need to? No. I really don’t need to do anything.

I’m doing the things I do because I like them. I am interested in them. I like to see if they lead anywhere and even if they don’t, I’m happy. That makes it easier.

I have better planning and timemanagement than before

I have figured out my own instruction manual over time. It turns out, I need assistance when it comes to planning and organisation of a normal life. Therefore I needed some accessories that make up for the total lack of organisational and management skills in my factory settings.

Thanks Passion Planner, Things 3 for Mac & iPhone and the Pomodoro technique. I truly couldn’t have done it without you.

Passion Planner: I need a paper planner because otherwise it doesn’t ‘feel real’ to my brain, it doesn’t click. It works as a planner, a timelog system and a to do list. It’s perfect.

Things 3 for Mac & iPhone: As much as I prefer planning on paper, I needed the digital version too. When I am on the go, when I need to change things around, or when I need to make a to do list I can access at all times via my phone and laptop. Things 3 is perfect for that.

Pomodoro technique: it’s ideal for those of us who are distracted easily but work fast. I like to clock a few a day in order to keep progressing on important things.

I laugh a lot because it relaxes me

My Dad Wrote A Porno started this for me, really. When I was listening to that show and laughing so hard all the time and noticed what that did for my general mood, I started to incorporate a lot more laughter in my life.

Funny TV shows, funny podcasts, the funniest boyfriend, funny friends, funny coworkers; I make having fun and having a laugh a priority in my life, because I can tell just how much I benefit from that. I’m more relaxed and laidback, I feel like everything is under control and I just have fun.

I really don’t think anything is more relaxing than laughing.

Of course I still do procrastinate, have lazy days, do not do things that I know I could be doing. But I don’t mind – things are good and I’m doing good enough anyway.

My tips? Create a stable home life and environment, a solid sense of self, find your own instruction manual and the tools you need to help you live your best life and laugh as much as you can.

Disclaimer: Just because I’m relaxed and productive now doesn’t mean I’ll be able to be relaxed and productive all the time forever. I WISH, but that’s not how that works. Yes, I’ve learnt systems and skills that make it easier no matter the circumstances, BUT should I get a bigger workload, if something bad happens or something else go wrong, things might be totally different again.

But I’m enjoying it now, and I figured I’d share in case you were curious.

Have a lovely Sunday, you guys.

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