Expanding my perception of productivity

“Mean Girls” blared as my friends laughed in harmony, reciting Regina George’s lines and inhaling Sour Patch Kids. Meanwhile, my fingers hovered above my keyboard, pounding feverishly to silence their advice: “Taylor, it’s Friday night. Take a break from work, and watch the movie.”

I’ve long restricted my perception of productivity to two arenas of my life: my education and my work. In the spring of 2012, I realized my limited perception of productivity was sapping my life of valuable relationships and — my ultimate foe — relaxation.

While I admit I yet refuse relaxing at times, I’m slowly expanding my perception of productivity to include down time, family time and friend time.

Napping, playing pick-up sticks with my sister and watching “Mean Girls” (again) hardly advance my journalism goals, but they enrich and balance my life.

Productivity, I’ve discovered, is a broad term for any experience that contributes to personal growth.

Family time, for example, reveals that my achievements are the result of others’ lifelong belief in my abilities. That belief merits my gratitude. Under the hypnotizing spell of to-do lists and due dates, however, I neglect to thank my family.

Friend time reminds me to laugh, joke and enjoy my Drake University years. Work and play are equally fundamental to goal-achievement.

Even napping is a catalyst for self-development, as it reminds me again and again of my invincibility. Taking care of my body is a key step in taking care of my latest to-do list.

I’m moving toward balance in my life, one Regina George quote at a time.

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