Productivity

My name is Lucy Claire Curran, and this is the second installment of what I hope will be many episodes of what I’m calling The Crayon and the Pen; a video blog about my unique approach to career resources. I’m currently working as an Employment Case Manager, and there’s something about supporting people in finding their life’s work that has a lot of resonance for me. I’m playing with bringing resources to you here on my page that help marry the head and the heart, or that bring together our more creative capabilities and our more analytic or linear capabilities.

Today I’m going to talk to you about Productivity. I have been a life-long subscriber to the merit of good hard work. I love rolling up my sleeves and doing hard work. I really like the feeling at the end of the day that I can check a bunch of things off of my to-do list. I don’t know if that’s familiar to anyone else here, but I have come to realize, through the long and painful process of finding out what doesn’t work, that productivity is only possible when there’s also down time.

I’m a gardener and I love working with plants and being outside, and one thing that I’ve come to realize in observing nature is that fallow time is critical. It’s absolutely essential to the earth being productive. There’s the growing season, and then we have winter. We have a time when roots go dormant, the plants above ground die back and things look dead. It looks like nothing is happening, but we know in fact that the period of dormancy is essential for the health of a plant, and that it’s regrouping and investing in those root structures so that when the spring rolls around again, the plant can regrow.

Here I am posting at 11:30pm, but I’ve been putting off this video and I realized that it’s a very important issue for me in my own life and also when I work with other people.

I feel like in the United States, in particular, we’re sort of addicted to feeling productive, so if you are finding that you’re not being as productive as you would like to be, you can just check it out with yourself. Are you giving yourself any down time? If you’re not, that could be a clue as to why you’re not being as productive as you would like to be and, as much as you might resist, making time for quiet, whatever that means for you, whether it’s sitting and having some quiet time outside in a relaxing space, or whether it’s having a cup of tea in a cafe by yourself and just enjoying it, whether it’s taking a walk near water – whatever it means for you, you know better than anyone else what that downtime that feels best for you is, but it’s absolutely essential.

I tell you this because I have learned from painful personal experience that we can’t be productive all the time, or rather we need to reframe our understanding of productivity to include those regeneration times, regrouping times, rest times. It’s not laziness. It’s called rest.

I wish you many productive days followed by good, solid chunks of sleep and rest, and also fun too.

With that, this again was the Crayon and the Pen with Lucy Claire Curran. Thank you for listening and have a  good night.

Perfectionism: Step by Step

Hello, my name is Lucy Claire Curran, and welcome to the Crayon and the Pen, my video blog and resource for people who want to have more fun with their work.

I am trying something today because I realized I was putting off creating video content because my usual perfectionism was getting in the way. I wanted to make sure it was just right, I wanted to nail down exactly what I was going to say, I wanted to hone my message, and I realized that the perfect topic for an installment of my video blog was perfectionism and how to really let it go when it’s getting in the way. I think there’s a place for polishing. I think there’s a place for attention to detail. Of course, it’s always part of the whole and, if you’re like me, you have sometimes let perfectionism stop you from even starting, from risking beginning a project that’s really important to you because it has to be perfect before you start.

If this resonates for you, I am showing up today in my pajamas and having slept on my hair kind of funny, and this is just challenging that tendency in myself in hopes of giving myself permission to move forward, and also to open up space for other people who struggle with perfectionism because it’s not that it’s bad to care about producing quality work, but I think that when the fear of failure keeps us stuck in our tracks that it keeps important work from being born into the world.

Here in my pajamas, in my space, in San Francisco, I am coming to you in my imperfection and inviting you to show up in your life, even if it’s just in a small way today, or in the next couple of days, a little bit more bravely, showing yourself with all of your humanness, and possibly you will open up space for others to do the same as well.

Thank you for joining me today. Again, my name is Lucy Claire Curran. I’m a writer, artist and coach in San Francisco, California and, until next time, be brave and make space for yourself and others to be their imperfect human selves.

The Myth of the Better Half, (Part Two)

My coach Kimberly Says I should write a haiku For each post! (Nailed it.) I have put off writing this second installment, in part because I have been busy and also because I did not know what to write. Three months ago, I returned to my childhood home in Ashland, …

The Myth of the Better Half, (Part One)

From time to time in my life, I have shown up at a bar or restaurant by myself, and—as I stood beside the ‘Please Wait to be Seated’ sign—I have made eye contact with the host or hostess, and been asked: “Just one?” It doesn’t have to be a loaded …

Trouble

It occurred to me this past weekend that I have spent much of my life trying to avoid making other people feel uncomfortable. Not only did I assign myself the impossible job of keeping everyone’s feathers in an unruffled state, I think that on some level I assumed that making …

If Not Now, When?

I have taken an almost two year hiatus from blogging. At the time, I let my blog become a burden, allowed it to become heavy until it weighed me down, and anything I wrote felt boring, irrelevant, and like an irksome duty. I am returning to blogging because there is …

Posts Pending

I originally embarked on writing a blog last year because I had taken on a large writing project—a novel—and I decided that I needed a touchstone to remember why I was doing what I was doing. I originally used the blog to connect on a regular basis with something about myself, or …

Learning to Fly

I used to think that I could fly. I also slept on the top level of a bunk bed, which–as you can no doubt imagine–was a risky and high-stakes combination. Fortunately, I emerged from this period of my life largely unscathed. In fact, I found that the best time to …

Thank You

I have been feeling a bit negative recently. So. This post is a little gratitude power-up refuel session based on the knowledge that turning my attention to those people and things for which I am grateful helps me to shift my attention in a more positive direction. So here goes: …

Walking the Talk

I have discovered something about myself. I am extremely good at talking and thinking about writing. Resistance to writing for me too often comes in the form of analysis, which keeps me happily and busily dissecting just why exactly it is that I’m not writing. God, I find myself saying. …