Support and accountability have been known to increase productivity. Yet, when people talk candidly about needing support that goes beyond constructive feedback they are often met with some form of shaming: “Why do you need a support group?”, “Can’t you just motivate yourself?” “If you’re not happy in your job there are plenty of unemployed people who would love to be in your position.” In short, many are told to just shut up and be happy. And because shaming moves people into action, that may actually work for a week or two, but these types of things have a way of resurfacing. Embracing your needs will help you develop a support system that will move you from occasional shame-induced binges towards a healthy, consistent and sustainable daily routine. While it should go without saying, it’s okay to have needs. In fact, if you wait until you are perfectly motivated, completely self-disciplined, free from anxiety, intellectually stimulated, physically energized and emotionally resolved before doing what needs to be done, you may never begin! Instead, encourage yourself to be released from the idea that having needs means there’s something wrong with you. It’s okay if you need support & accountability. It’s okay if you’re not productive in isolation. It’s okay if you need community, feedback, a safe space to take risks and a group of people who genuinely celebrate your accomplishments. It’s okay because meeting your needs for community, support, and accountability will increase your desire for productivity.
What do YOU need?
If you can accept the fact that you don’t have to change who you are in order to be productive, then dig a little deeper by asking yourself: What do I need to maximize my happiness? Some people need solitude, while others need people around them to fill the silence. Some people may need therapy and some may not. The important thing is to identify what you need without judgment or shame because knowing what you truly need to maximize your happiness is what will allow you to create a support system that works for you.
Connect with a group that meets your needs.
Once you have identified what you need to make you happy, start to imagine the best way to go about it. Over the years I have come to accept the fact that I need community, support, and accountability, and instead of judging myself negatively for having those needs, I embrace them, create mechanisms to meet them, and find that participating in these types of supportive systems brings me increased productivity and tremendous joy. You may have different (and fewer) needs than I do, but the key to being more productive is to ask yourself: What do I need, and who can best support my needs?
I hope you find the clarity to identify your needs, the freedom to embrace them and the creativity to connect with a support system that will allow you to maximize your productivity.