Happy Monday? What’s on your schedule for this week? Think you’ll get it all done?

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Productivity is an art. Art is a creative process that enrolls our entire brain to participate. Logic, memory, perception, organization, abstract thinking, judgment, reasoning, and attention all work cohesively to produce this magic.

Productivity measures the efficiency of production. What will you produce this week and how will you stay efficient while you make your dreams come true?

Productivity is more of a dance than a linear process. So it is an art, not a science. The magic comes from your quiet mind, rested enough to listen to your inner knowing. You’ll then know what to ‘do’ or ‘produce’ next. If you’re not too stubborn to listen, you could know to take a cat-nap or do a relaxation visualization get refreshed. The dance of productivity does wax and wane. It’s not pegged at 170 mph in a continuous frenzy. Balance is essential to maximize productivity.

I have developed 4 categories to keep productive and balanced. I invite you to adopt these this week. Take what works for you to your calendar.

Category 1 Tasks are done to progress toward major projects, and are informed by a personal life mission.

Category 2 Tasks are to keep the body fit/functioning at optimal performance.

Category 3 Tasks are to keep the soul feeling good, usually tasks that are in the flow and feel like no time has passed.

Category 4 Tasks are not tasks at all. They are scheduled downtime to do nothing but follow peaceful and quiet whims.

Most people who work hard focus on the first category. Hopefully, the tasks done are informed by urges to follow a personal mission. If not, the work won’t feed itself to perpetuate.

As an entrepreneur and mother, I have lost of repetitive, boring, and mindless tasks. If I can remember the bigger goal, that this is just a tedious step in the big picture, I can sustain my energy throughout the day.

When we are adolescents, most of us are NOT taught to discover our individual mission in life, so we may follow what we think should be done or go through tasks without thinking at all. This is a common mistake many of us make. We don’t explore why we do the tasks of Category 1. If this is you, it’s time to start your journey of discovery. There are many life coaches that can guide you through.

If you are doing what you’re doing for the love of your mission, remember to include the other 3 category tasks in your balanced system, so you don’t burnout. Most of us overdo category 1 tasks. You’ve heard people ‘working’ 90-hour workweeks. They are talking about these tasks. The overkill of time spent on these tasks takes away from optimum efficiency. It seems counterintuitive that working longer would make us less efficient, but we are human beings who need rest, recovery, inspiration, and health to produce our best to the world. We get sloppy when we overdo category 1 tasks.

Category 2 tasks are a no brainer, but functional fitness and a healthy diet are not always priorities when a deadline is on the table.

Even in our extreme sport environment, our bodies need maintenance to climb those peaks, to ski those bowls, to ride that bike for miles and miles. Because it makes my soul happy, I put Ultimate Frisbee in Category 3. And I certainly need to maintain functional fitness (a category 2 task) to continue these outdoor sports.

Take care of yourself this week. Schedule time in the gym. Get it done.

Included in category 2 tasks is to eat healthy meals. Don’t skip meals because you’re producing. It doesn’t help in the long run. Bring your go-to food to your workplace to make it easy. Plan and prepare for what you will eat each day, so you don’t have to think too hard about it when you’re hungry.

Category 3 tasks depend on your personality. In order for me to feel fulfilled, I sing in a choir. The Resonance Choir in Boulder is such a loving and caring place to indulge that passion. Make sure you include, in your week, that soul-feeding activity so Category 1 work can flow even easier and more magically.

Category 4 is downtime. It’s when you schedule time in your day (actually put it in the calendar) to do nothing, to stare at the wall, to take a nap, to slow down in some way. This helps balance out the busy-ness of our culture and the fast pace so many of us set for ourselves. We NEED Category 4 to stay productive. Even though it’s subtle, don’t ignore this important category.

Now it’s your turn to cease the day! Your homework is to take a moment now, pick a category that you would like to do more or less of, and make that happen today. Schedule it in the calendar you use to schedule meetings. If it’s actually written in your calendar, chances are, you will give it the time it needs.

How did this article sit with you? Comment below to keep the Productivity Conversation going. Are you motivated this Monday? What will be different in your schedule, because you read this article?