Permission to not be Productive

 April 4, 2020

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

Below is the full transcript from this podcast episode. Enjoy!

Uriah: So there’s one thing that we both share in common, and that is having our names mispronounced for most of our lives, right?

Tracel: All the time.

Uriah and Tracel: All the time.

Uriah: (laughs)

Tracel: Mm-hmm.

Uriah: So when I would go to Starbucks, or you know other places that I-I needed to give them my name…

Tracel: Yes.

Uriah: I would get all kinds of misspellings, mispronunciations, it’s kinda funny actually.

Tracel: Mm-hmm.

Uriah: Yeah .

Tracel: Well I don’t even give my name anymore…

Uriah: (laughs)

Tracel: …I choose another name…

Uriah: (laughs)

Tracel: …that is easy to pronounce and…

Uriah: What do you go with?

Tracel: … I use my friend’s name, “Cathy”…

Uriah: “Cathy”.

Tracel: … I don’t care if they spell it with a “C” or a “K”, it doesn’t matter to me…

Uriah: Perfect.

Tracel: …umm, but it’s easy and I don’t have to try to spell things for them.

Uriah: I sometimes go with “Joe”…

Tracel: (laughs)

Uriah: …or-or if I’m feeling feisty I tell them “Hey take-take a stab at it and let me know”.

Tracel: (laughs) You don’t give them any pointers, you just let them sweat it out.

Uriah: (laughs) exactly!

Tracel: (laughs)

Uriah: And I-I like it when they are game for that, it’s so funny.

Tracel: Yeah.

Uriah: Yeah.

Tracel: Nice (laughs)

Uriah: So, as we’re recording this podcast this is, uhh, during the time of the global pandemic…

Tracel: Yes.

Uriah: …the coronavirus, and we’re all facing different challenges, and therapists specifically are going through quite a wild transition to tele-health and trying to keep our businesses floating. And I just wanted to talk back-and-forth with you about the idea of giving ourselves permission to NOT be productive. Right?

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: Cause, there’s this pressure, and if you’re on social media you’re hearing all kinds of messages about “Hey, now that you’re home, this is the perfect time to build that online course, or…”…

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: …you know do any number of things that sound wonderful, but can be overwhelming. Are you-are you feeling that too in some ways?

Tracel: Yes I have and I mean I have seen things, people doing things, that I have wanted to do, like you know reduce some furniture, paint a wall, do-umm, some really creative nice things that I would love to do, but I don’t have the time and I’m feeling the pressure, because it seems like everybody else does, and they’re doing these wonderful things and I’m still looking at this piece of furniture that it irritates me…

Uriah: Right.

Tracel: …because I can’t get to it (laughs)

Uriah: Right, (laughs), it becomes this thing that-that you feel like you should do…

Tracel: Yes.

Uriah: …like you should make good use of your time and not quote-on-quote waste it, right?

Tracel: Yes-yes, but there’s times that I don’t feel like I have the energy…

Uriah: Mm-hmm.

Tracel: …whether it’s physical or even mental energy.

Uriah: Mm-hmm.

Tracel: and than I too-I feel bad like, I’m just sitting here on the couch, and all I wanna do is, you know…

Uriah: (laughs)

Tracel: …binge something on Netflix…

Uriah: Right.

Tracel: …that doesn’t sound productive.

Uriah: Right, right.

Tracel: And then I end up feeling bad, and than still get nothing done. (laughs)

Uriah: (laughs) yeah you should just enjoy the binging on Netflix and than…

Tracel: yeah.

Uriah: … later maybe get something done.

Tracel: Yeah I know it’s terrible

Uriah: Yeah, so I think-I think we just need permission at times to rest, recharge, relax, …

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: …umm, and most of the people that are our clients, the therapists that are our clients, and people that listen to this podcasts are likely ambitious, driven people who have goals and who are moving forward, and it’s tough for us to stop, pause, uhh, it’s just tough to do nothing at any given time.

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: Yeah.

Tracel: Right. And then I think about people who’s schedules have changed because maybe they’re parents, and now there are your kids, there are some states that kids are not going back to school for the rest of the year.

Uriah: Mm-hmm.

Tracel: … the rest of the school year…and so now…

Uriah: Certainly, in California.

Tracel: Right.

Tracel: And so now parents are thinking, “okay, I still have a schedule that I have to keep and now I also have to be a teacher”. And you know heaven-forbid you have children that are,…

Uriah: Mm-hmm.

Tracel: … in vast different grades, or you know, and you have a child that needs to be, you know, sat with to make sure that they get their work done, I mean I just can’t even try. I’m-I’m so glad that my kids are grown and…

Uriah: (laughs)

Tracel: … I don’t have to think about that. (laughs)

Uriah: It’s a huge challenge, it really is…

Tracel: Yeah.

Uriah: I mean working from-transition-transitioning to working from home for anybody who’s not doing that, was not doing that, is a challenge. And than if you have to try to homeschool your kids or do those type of things, or even, I especially feel for the-the parents who have toddlers or very young kids …

Tracel: Yes.

Uriah: … who don’t occupy themselves well…

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: … on their own.

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: Fortunately, mine are 11 and 13 and they can, you know, do all kinds of things by themselves.

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: Yeah.

Tracel: Cause you have young ones than you feel like “Well if I just put them in front of the TV,…”

Uriah: Mm-hmm.

Tracel: “…that doesn’t sound productive”. I saw on social media, that somebody said “just put the captioning on and now it’s a reading class or,…”

Uriah: (laughs)

Tracel: “..or an English class” all of a sudden (laughs).

Uriah: Clever…

Tracel: (laughs)

Uriah: Clever re-frame.

Tracel: That’s right.

Uriah: So I did see-I did see something yesterday that I wanted to share and I-I won’t necessarily read the whole thing but the idea is that we umm are all trying to adapt to this…

Tracel: Mm-hmm.

Uriah: …and especially if you are a parent with kids at home, umm, this is encouraging. So it says-actually I will read it, because it’s just good…

Tracel: Okay.

Uriah: It says, “So your kids survived on snacks yesterday, they’re still safe, they’re still loved. So your kids had too much tablet time, guess what… they’re still safe, and they’re still loved. So they’ve had so much time indoors vs going outside, they’re still safe and loved…” and it goes on with, uh, some, um, other different examples, but it says…

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: …“you are still safe and you are still loved, you aren’t failing at anything, in fact, your’e surviving everything.”

Tracel: Yeah.

Uriah: Isn’t that good?

Tracel: Yeah it is, because we’re in an unprecedented situation, and so I like what you said that we just have to give ourselves permission…

Uriah: Right, and there’s something that you and I…

Tracel: To not be so productive.

Uriah: 100%. So you and I actually, couple weeks ago, and-and lately have been working on a new course that we’re excited about, called “Hiring Your Assistant”…

Tracel: Yes.

Uriah: And than when this whole pandemic happened, you and I both experienced, basically…

Tracel: (laughs)

Uriah: … uhh, I don’t know what to call it we were just like “I just can’t, I can’t do it,…”…

Tracel: I know (laughs)

Uriah: …“ I can’t work-I can’t work on that right now”.

Tracel: (laughs)

Uriah: So, I literally-I literally just took it off of my To-Do list, and said “You know what, we’re gonna get back to it…”…

Tracel: Oh.

Uriah: … “and it’s okay”. Right?

Tracel: I’m gonna do that, because it’s been…

Uriah: Oh yeah, definitely, take-…

Tracel: …bothering me.

Uriah: No, take that off, take it off. Yeah, yeah.

Tracel: Good, good, good.

Uriah: And so…

Tracel: Phew!

Uriah: …that’s just, you know, there’s some things that are essential and…

Tracel: Yes.

Uriah: …other things that are not essential, or it’s about timing. So…

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: The thing that I’m trying to do now, and it’s hopefully it’s an encouragement for people listening to this, is it sounds kind of “woo-woo”, but it’s not really- follow your energy. So on any given day if there’s something that’s is on your list or you know wherever the-the umm, impetus comes from, if you feel like your into it and you’re excited about it go ahead and do it. If you don’t, put it on the back-burner. Right?

Tracel: Right, because uhh, if you’re not into it you’ll either start halfway or if you complete it, it’s not gonna be done well.

Uriah: Mm-hmm, exactly. So, I told my wife this morning that I was, uhh, interested in working on some gardening, which is a shock to her.

Tracel: (laughs)

Uriah: And-and I was like “you know what I think I would feel good if I did this one little project over here…”

Tracel: Mm-hmm.

Uriah: …so I think we’re gonna, you know, take a trip to the uhh, to the gardening store and pick up-pick up some things and get that done, uhh.

Tracel: Yeah.

Uriah: So…

Tracel: It sounds like a great idea.

Uriah: I think it’ll be therapeutic, right?

Tracel: Yes, (laughs)

Uriah: So the whole purpose of this conversation here is to just to basically tell you, whoever you are listening to this right now, is that you do not have to do most things. Make sure you feed yourself and your children, if you have them…

Uriah and Tracel: (laughs)

Uriah: …bathing is even optional.

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: … and wear-wearing professional clothes is often optional, unless you’re a therapist and doing tele-health, please…

Tracel: (laughs) Yes, (laughs), no pajamas.

Uriah: …take care of yourself, yeah.

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: So we are the team at productive therapist, but in order to be productive you also have to rest, relax, and take good care of yourself. So that’s the reminder for today. And there is no call-to-action at the end of this episode. Just, do the things that we just said, take it easy and follow the energy that you have, uhh, and you’re going to be okay, we’re all gonna be just fine. Alright.

Tracel: Excellent Advise

Uriah: Thanks so much Tracel, have a good day.

Tracel: You too.

Uriah: Bye.

Tracel: Bye.

Uriah Guilford, MFT

Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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