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One day last week I found myself stuck in a rut. I felt like I was spinning my wheels, not getting much accomplished, and generally having an unproductive day. But when I looked at my to-do list at the end of the evening, I realized that I had still managed to complete nine out of the twelve things on the list. So what caused my mental malaise?

After thinking about it for a while, it finally hit me. My mental state was the side effect of a previously over-productive day.

Speed Limit

You see, while that Thursday was my spinning-the-wheels day, Tuesday had been ultra-productive. I was in the “zone” by mid-morning and thanks to my hyper-productivity, my to-do list was nearly completed by noon, and I put the remaining rest of the day to good use getting caught up on other projects.

Wednesday followed and I was still racing right along. But by Thursday mid-morning I had slowed back down to a normal speed.

While I never did recapture the warp speed that day, I was slightly encouraged when I looked at my list in the evening. As I thought over the day, a few lessons stood out to me.

Be grateful for highly productive days, but don’t allow yourself to set unrealistic expectations of yourself or your team.

I am my own biggest taskmaster. I usually don’t need motivation as I have an abundance of it in spades. And occasionally my overachieving brain forgets the importance of real life expectations.

Some of the things that caused me to feel unproductive were out of our control. When this happens, it’s easy to get discouraged. But instead of growing discouraged, take a look at all the things you were able to get done. If I had looked at my to-do list realistically earlier in the day, I probably wouldn’t have felt so miserable.

Aim for higher levels of productivity, but don’t let it become an idol.

The zone moments are gifts—gifts to be treasured. But never let the lack of them dictate your attitude. I appreciate what Oswald Chambers had to say about times such as this one. “Never live for rare moments–they are surprises. God will give us touches of inspiration when He sees we are not in danger of being led away by them. We must never make our moments of inspiration our standards. Our standard is our duty.”

So for those days when you feel like you are creeping along at 23 MPH, be encouraged.

After all, you are still moving.

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Aaress Lawless

Aaress enjoys helping small businesses and ministries, having budget travel adventures with friends, and blogging about life lessons on Instagram.

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