Positively Productive

05 Jul

School ended a week ago yesterday. Yes, one of the benefits of being a teacher is summers off. While I certainly enjoy having more time and space, I am not the kick back and relax type. In fact, my wife has noted that during the first two weeks of the summer, I use my extra time to look around and feel dissatisfied. You see, one of the lessons I continually learn about myself is I like to feel productive.

So, I made a list of things that I plan on accomplishing in order to have a productive summer. Some of these things are family-related: help BR to feel comfortable riding a bike, help SY improve his reading skills, and go through the kids’ old books. Some are house-related: organize the unmarked CDs (I started last summer).

However, the majority of the list is about me: writing, reading, learning and exercising, etc. It’s a long list and somewhat demanding – requiring time, concentration, and dedication. Isn’t that what goals are for? Well, that’s what I was taught to believe. The only way to grow is to push yourself.

Do you remember the Flintsones’ episode when Fred has an angel on one side and a devil on the other to symbolize his internal conflict? The angel, of course, tries to push him to do the right thing and share the sweepstakes ticket while the devil advises Fred to keep the ticket for himself. I can empathize with Fred. The angel tells me it’s only been a week and I have been productive and besides, I’m entitled to some down time after another challenging school year. It is comforting and exhilarating. The devil tells me nothing is happening this summer, I’ve accomplished zilch, and I have little hope of making things better. It’s depressing and heavy.

So, what’s it going to be – the angel or the devil, the optimist or the pessimist, the doer or the naysayer? It’s time for me to learn the lesson of productivity and positivty again – I want to accomplish.


Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


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17 responses to “Positively Productive

  1. ateachablemom

    July 5, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Oh do I relate. The lure of “productivity” is soooo seductive! Maybe your devil and my devil can take a long walk on a short pier together … that or I know a good hit man! I vote for a nap and anything that will bring you joy!

  2. linneann

    July 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    That little devil is great at guilt. Some of my most productive time is spent with my eyes closed, just listening.

    • memyselfandkids

      July 6, 2012 at 2:43 am

      But to which are you listening to?

      • linneann

        July 6, 2012 at 2:49 am

        Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? I’m very good at feeling guilty. 🙂

        • memyselfandkids

          July 6, 2012 at 2:50 am

          Ughh! Another pool fool – sorry to have your company. I wonder if this is a trypical trait for writers/creative types.

          • linneann

            July 6, 2012 at 2:52 am

            I think it’s a typical trait for people who want to do good and many creative types do.

          • memyselfandkids

            July 6, 2012 at 2:53 am

            I like that. Sold.

          • linneann

            July 6, 2012 at 2:57 am


  3. J. A. Robinson

    July 6, 2012 at 11:21 am

    THANKS for visiting my “pun-ny” photoblog and leaving a “like.”

    DO be hard on yourself (within reason). This is the angel on your shoulder talking. If you “like to be productive,” you will look back on this summer with regret if you haven’t accomplished some of those goals.

    When I started my M-F photoblog on Nov. 1, 2010, I didn’t appreciate what a demanding taskmaster it would be — I have to write a funny title and caption for one of my photos every weekday. In all this time I have never missed a weekday post! During the power outage in the eastern half of the U.S. this weekend, I had to drive to a place that had electricity so I could pre-schedule the posts for this week. I didn’t get the Internet back at home until Tuesday night.

    If I sound like I’m complaining, I have never regretted making that original commitment to my blog. It’s the “funnest” thing I have ever done, and I’m on a first name basis with about 20 blogging friends. (We visit each other’s blogs and interact.) I LOVE this virtual community!

    The only way to avoid those “depressing and heavy” thoughts is to lift your spirits with accomplishments.

    I can leave the pulpit now that I’ve delivered a sermon. 🙂

    –John Robinson:

    • memyselfandkids

      July 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      The key as you say is within reason. It’s all about balance. Unfrotunately, sometimes I am off balance.

      I hope you continue to get enjoyment and saisfaction from your blog.

      • J. A. Robinson

        July 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm

        Sometimes I get off balance when I’m standing on a soapbox (or in a pulpit). I got a tad too preachy.

  4. patgarcia

    July 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

    One of the most difficult things for me to do is to stay positive, while being productive. If I don’t ignore my emotional temperature, which could be below zero, and focus on what I need to do, I will never do it. So one of my biggest struggles has been focusing, projecting my view to the end product and keeping it before my eyes.
    This helps me tremendously. It gives me a reason to kick myself in the butt and keep going. I have noticed that once I start moving in the direction that I am supposed to take, my clouds start disappearing. We often forget that staying positive means, fighting yourself and finding your true north that guides you towards the light.
    I honestly believe, if you have never been through emotional turmoil that has cause you to despair, you will not be able to help others. I, further believe that those people who are chosen to struggles with the enemy within, are special people chosen to know themselves so that they are able to help others.
    I would never be able to tell someone to stick with it, if I didn’t know the struggle that goes on within a person when he or she is contemplating on giving up, because they wouldn’t believe. But If I have been there, then I get their attention and can touch their hearts. They go away saying, if she could do, so can I.
    Enjoyed your post, Larry. Your posts bring out my thoughts and boost me forward.

  5. memyselfandkids

    July 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    i tend to be more positive when I am productive. My problem is when I feel I am not productive enough. Too often, I’ll these oversized expectations or to-do list and then be bummed when it does not come to pass.
    Boost you forward – that’s very cool. I am so so happy that the posts help.

  6. survivingmyboyz

    July 12, 2012 at 4:19 am

    I used to make those lists every summer as far back as I can remember, as a kid and as a teacher. No that I stay home, they are weekly lists miles long that never get done. So I’ve decided to start something new, weekly goals. Five things I know I can do, but will still have to push myself to get done. It’s a less daunting task that way. Good luck, keep productive, even if it is productive in a self indulging way or take a whole day to yourself way; teachers definitely deserve at least that much.

    • memyselfandkids

      July 12, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      Thanks for the enocuragement. I’m glad you found a system that works for you. I think that is the key – find what works for you.


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