Book review: The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey
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While walking through the University of Southern California bookstore over spring break, I stumbled across a book called “The Productivity Project” by Chris Bailey. I am now following advice from a 25-year-old on how to use my time more wisely. I remember being 25 (back when he was 3 years old). I had a full-time job (so I guess I was productive), but I desperately wanted to be a mom. Now, after being at home for 21 years, I am having to re-learn how to do something besides being a mom and managing my time with the “deal with whatever is on fire” method. I am learning through the book and his 14 weeks of challenges to harness my energy at the right time on the right tasks.
It does not help my self-esteem, however, that he considers most of my tasks to be “maintenance tasks.” He claims he is able to devote only one day per week to accomplishing all of his maintenance items (laundry, errands, meal prep, etc.). If I were a single 25-year-old man, I am sure I could do the same, but I am not, so I rebrand many of these tasks as “taking care of my family” and declare them very important.
To the young mothers out there I want you to know that I did none of this “productivity” stuff when my children were younger and I have no regrets. I spent my time driving my kids around, going to their activities, volunteering at their schools, reading to and with them and playing with them. Investing in the lives of children is never a mistake. Every hour spent with your child whether it is in the car singing “Baby Beluga” or talking about faith, family, friends, schoolwork, activities, politics and current events with your older children is time invested wisely. The push to be it all to everyone and have a successful career at the same time can be overwhelming, so look at these years as “investment years” and give yourself a break from the pressure. On the flip side, please don’t misinterpret that I am saying working is wrong or that I am passing out any other kind of guilt. My husband was able to do all of the wage earning and I managed all of our finances and the day-time parenting. Every family has to find their own balance.
Now that my children are in the process of launching and the two that are still home are at school by 8 and often are not home until after 6, I feel free to explore other activities and ideas without guilt. I want to write. I want to learn more about web design. I want to learn Spanish. If I have to take the advice of a 25 year old to learn to manage time that I did not used to have, that is ok. Trust me, it can be deer in the headlights for a stay-at-home mom to have a free hour and suddenly not know what to do with it. Any guidance is appreciated.
Mr. Bailey’s philosophy has been a fun and encouraging way to start my journey. He also speaks my language. The language of “you don’t have to be an early riser to be productive.” Big load off my mind to not beat myself up if 5am is not my “prime time.”
If you also want to explore your productivity and harness your energy at the right time of day on the right tasks, “The Productivity Project's” 14 week challenge is a must.