Monday 11 June 2018

Guest Post - Productivity Series - Aparna Burke


While most clever blogs and articles offer insights to help you live your best life, my blog on productivity is what some might call an epic fail. No tips or tricks to be found here; what I do offer however is a story that made me think twice about what I do, and remind myself why I do it.

“Thanks for abandoning me”.

He wasn’t abandoned in the true sense of the word, not in the melodramatic I-left-to-get-a-litre-of-milk-and-never-came-back-kind-of-way.

But, in his 9-year-old mind, it made sense to use that word, in that situation, the day I forgot to organise a different option for school pick as the MIL couldn’t make it.

In a thirty second window between meetings, I had fixed it and he was swiftly collected.

Needless to say, I felt like crap. And then, with the deft precision that only small children have, he made me feel worse, quietly saying on the phone, I don’t want to talk about it now, I want to talk about it face to face. 


By the time we were face to face he had forgotten about it. But I hadn’t. 

Why did I forget, why didn’t I write it down, why didn’t I organise myself the day I found out MIL couldn’t do it? Are my productivity tools not working?!

I consider myself to be a pretty organised person, but while performing the juggling game of life, with one leg in the air and the other balancing on a stilt, I sometimes drop the ball. 

My brain has reached the point of saturation, so I write things down. I use various electronic tools to track my work/meetings etc, but, I love writing (and shiny pens with pineapple tips) so I have a work diary and use wall calendars and journals and lists. Who doesn’t love a good list?

And then, I want to do all the things. I ‘aint turning down nothing but my collar…

 N.B I don’t really do all of the things, I hate laundry and gardening never makes it onto my good lists.

I love my family. I love my friends. I love my job and my fur baby is the best. I know the difference between busy and productive. I know what my priorities are. I don’t feel like I need balance, I need time. 

Now that I’m older, I am trying so hard to avoid falling victim to the myth of immortality, squeezing every last drop of life out of my allocated daily minutes, I fear I am undoing all my industrious efforts to fit it all in.

I’m consciously stopping for the roses but do I always smell them before I move to the next thing on my list?

Am I so focussed on doing all the things that I forget to reflect on some of the things?

Working in corrections I often came across the criminal offence “loitering with intent”. It is the difference between hanging around and hanging around with a purpose.

This made me think, maybe I’m already productive enough. Maybe the key to my best life is to learn how to loiter with intent (and without getting arrested). 

Aparna Burke
Communications Advisor, RSM

Having worked over 18 years in corrective services, running treatment programs, working on policy and managing strategic communications, I am now happily employed with RSM Australia. I work in Perth’s Tax Services Division as a Communications Advisor. 

(c) AWSN 2018

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency, organisation or association.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for being the first contributor to our new series on productivity.