Be productive. Consume less, produce more. Simple rules to live by, seemingly, if you have the willpower to do so. But it's harder than you thought. You're tired after a day of work, one of those evenings where you didn't make plans with friends, so you slump down on the couch and turn on youtube, netflix, a game, or even just wikipedia and waste away an hour, maybe 2, maybe even the rest of the evening. You end up not cooking a meal, sometimes just eating what others would deem a breakfast meal for dinner.
It keeps you alive, but it doesn't feed you, you know? That goes both for the meals and for the way those evenings are spent.
So you sit up straight, once you realize, and you decide to do things differently. You're going to be better. You're going to run, swim, do those push-ups, pull-ups, lunges and other weirdly named physical activities you told yourself you would do at least half the week. You're going to write, draw, make music, program. You're going to do something, not just sit back and 'relax'.
You theoretically rail against those who merely partake, who just watch, passively sliding through life without making their mark. But practically, you do the exact same thing. Perhaps, even worse, because you know better.
Every waking moment needs to be filled with something, just so you don't think about the things that should bother you. Things that, if you did actually think about, would be guaranteed to bother you.
But there's moments. Moments where you realize. And you have to do something there and then. You jump into action, making plans, schedules, promising yourself to do better. Be better.
And the next morning comes, and it's a rough day at work, so you come home tired.
And you slump down on the couch. And you turn on something, anything, that will distract you without demanding anything from you mentally, because that's already what the rest of the day did.
It doesn't make you happy. It won't make you happy. It just makes you distracted.
But suddenly deep-diving into activity won't, either. It's not sustainable, because as much as sitting back and being passive is putting you off-balance, so will the complete other extreme.
As with everything, the goal should be sustainability. How to find the balance between consuming (because in essence there's nothing wrong with it -- within boundaries) and producing (i.e., adding something new to the world)?
It's a balance that is, to be very honest, difficult to find. Most of us search for it, that feeling at the end of the day, where we look back at what we've done and we're content with it. We've done something. Something that, to our standards, matters. And if one of the rewards is to relax and just watch a thing, listen to a thing, or play a thing, then that's grand. That's a well-earned reward, then.
But the need to achieve something is strong in most of us. It doesn't have to be something grand that will end up in the history books. But if it mattered to someone -- yourself or someone else -- than it mattered, no discussion possible.
So instead of knee-jerk schedules and plans, you sit down to really consider some specific goals. And how to achieve those goals in a manner where the stakes aren't super high, and also not super low. You try to find the balance. And when you find that balance -- or think you did, which is as close as some of us will ever get -- you set the plan in motion.
Realistic. Taking into account that sometimes plans go differently. Taking into account that nobody always feels 100% energetic and ready to take on anything.
And you track your progress, and you adapt and adjust where necessary. And you start to see the gains, start to see improvements, and you go to bed more often feeling like you achieved something that day. That even if it was small, you did that one thing that mattered to you, or to someone else.
And if it mattered to someone, anyone, it mattered.
No discussion possible.
And that balance -- when you find it -- it will bring you closer to where you want to be.
Not in one go, but eventually. And as long as you believe in that, and your plan is forgiving, you can do it.
As long as it matters to you.