“You Value Yourself Only When You Are Accomplishing…”

I picked up I Miss You When I Blink during my recent trip to the library. It’s a collection of essays from Mary Laura Philpott. Some of them deal with motherhood and children, but the ones about being type A spoke to me.

There’s one quote that stood out to me:

You see yourself the way you think the world sees you, so you value yourself only when you are accomplishing and producing and finishing and succeeding.

Mary Laura Philpott

This speaks to me, especially when it comes to work. I think it stems from my first job. It was at a marketing agency, and the way we operated was that we had to keep track of our time for everything we did since clients were billed per the hour. I had gotten a taste of it while I interned there in the summer before my senior year, so once I was actually an employee there, it wasn’t too much of a shock.

But do you realize how hard it is to keep track of everything you do? We used online timers, and we put our time into programs on a daily basis. I’ve always been good at time management, so getting stuff done wasn’t an issue. We’d have meetings sometimes where our time would be totaled up for the last month or a certain period of time, and we’d see not only our time but what everyone else was doing.

It basically came down to if you had more time, you were being more productive, or at least seen as being more productive. I’d get anxious if my time wasn’t high enough because it seemed like it was the only way to prove I was actually doing work, when I knew I was.

So when I started my current job in the fall, one of the things I was most excited about was not having to keep track of my time. But since I had been programmed like that for the last two-plus years, I struggled with the days where I didn’t get much done.

I’ve trained myself to think that if I’m not sitting in front of my computer then I’m not being productive. When it comes to the web stuff I do, obviously I have to be at my desk, but for social, I can really be anywhere. Like during commencement weekend, I spent the entire time posting from my phone. And during the summer orientations that are going on, I’m out and about on campus at different sessions. So since I’m not at my desk, there’s a little voice in the back of my head telling me that I’m not being productive. But I’m getting stuff done.

I’ve started to rely on my to-do list to remind me of what I’ve accomplished on a certain day. Even if it’s really little stuff, I’ll write it down. Because on those days where I feel like I haven’t done anything, I leave work frustrated.

This week is my nine month anniversary at my job, and for some reason, this is something I’m still struggling with. I’m hoping by the fall when classes start again that I’ll be better with myself and know that the nature of this job is different but a good different.

How do you handle accomplishing things at work? How do you feel about those days when you just don’t get anything done? How do you keep feeling productive?

5 comments

  1. In my job, I have a fairly limited amount of stuff to do, and it’s mostly early in the week. Once I’m done with that, there’s some administrative stuff to do, but not nearly enough to get me through the entire rest of the week, so I leave early a lot (sometimes really early), because if I’m doing nothing I’d rather not be doing nothing at work.

    Even though no one has ever given me a hard time about it, in the back of my mind I’m still paranoid that I’m going to be “caught” somehow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, what a quote! It’s totally true! I get so much anxiety from not having like a million degrees and feel so lazy when I skipped my workout for the day, it makes me feel less than and like a bum, like I don’t have my life together. I enjoyed reading and now will never forget that quote! I hope you get more comfortable in your job with time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad that you were able to relate to this quote! It really stuck out to me and I was able to connect to it. Once the fall comes, I’ll be at my job for a year and I’ll be starting my second academic year at the university, so I’ll know what’s coming/what’s to do based on last year.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a job with a fairly defined role where the vast majority of it is done by Wednesday, if not Tuesday. There’s administrative stuff the rest of the week, but not nearly enough to fill the days, so I go home early a lot. (If I’m going to do nothing, I’d rather not do nothing at work.)

    Even though I don’t exactly hide what I’m doing, part of me still has this nagging fear that I’ll get “caught.”

    Liked by 1 person

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