Redefining Our Relationship to Productivity

Redefining our relationship to productivity is a necessary component of preventing burnout and cultivating well-being. Our current societal relationship to productivity is built on the Industrial Revolution era conception of work ethic. This conception wraps our value into what we can produce, dehumanizing us in the process. In order to rehumanize our relationship to our energy, we must first reclaim our worth separate from external measures of production. Additionally, we must learn to tap into our values and honor our capacity as we prioritize our energy usage.


Valerie Friedlander 0:00
Hello, my friends, and welcome to another episode of unlimited today, we are talking about redefining our relationship to productivity, because if there is one self relationship that really has a hold on us, productivity is pivotal. We have internalized so many stories about productivity and our value tied to productivity. And if you’ve listened to any other episodes of this podcast before this one, you’ve probably heard me talk about it, because while people don’t come to me necessarily to work on productivity, the messaging that they have around that concept almost always is influencing other aspects of what they’re trying to create, goals that they want to set, transitions, that they want to make stress, that they want to reduce productivity, and The stories associated are deep in there. So I wanted to talk about separating our value from what we can produce, because that is one of the big stories that gets all caught up in there. When we talk about work life balance, this idea of production, in this pull between work and we say life, but it’s really like all the other responsibilities. Rarely does it include ourselves, because that was the way it was designed. I have a whole episode where I talk about the mythology of work life balance. I also have one that talks about the mythology of productivity, but to talk about this, specifically, this relationship that we have to it. I thought we really should have a conversation. Let’s let’s engage this in exploration, because I also find that concepts, especially ones that have such deep tentacles, are easier to excavate and engage when you’re doing it in conversation, because there are layers that we just don’t get at by ourselves. So I invited my dear friend Lisa zaratni of positively productive systems, to join me in this conversation about this relationship that we have to productivity. Lisa zaratni is a productivity and accountability coach, founder of positively productive systems and host of the positively living podcast. She helps multitasking creatives and caregivers reduce overwhelm and boost productivity without burning out or sacrificing what they love when she’s not sharing about how to simplify and stress less, you’ll find her hanging out with her husband and kiddos, traveling, watching movies and acting like a rock star or a hiding from the world with an iced coffee and a good book, probably trapped under a cat. Lisa has current certifications in time and stress management, life coaching and positive psychology. She’s helped hundreds of clients do less, live more and breathe easier. We touched on so many things in this episode. Some of what we talked about includes the industrial Revolution’s influence on how we understand productivity and redefining it for ourselves in a more human centered way, choosing where to utilize your energy based on your capacity, clarifying your values and releasing shoulds the glorification of overwork and weaponization of urgency, defining enough for goal setting and knowing that You are enough. There’s so much more in here, and I can’t wait to share it with you before we dig in. I do want to remind you that this is a listener supported podcast, so if you would like to contribute to the production of this podcast, any little bit makes a huge difference, and there are links in the show notes to do that. You can also go check out all my free resources on my website, resources page where you can access lots of goodies, and there’s a link at the bottom, if you would like to contribute to my work. There’s also a link there and in the show notes to sign up for my email list, where you will get my newsletter, which includes three extra tips from my guests or from myself, if it’s a solo episode, the following week after each episode comes out. So if you are not on there, get on there, because then you get the extra goodies. And it’s an easy way to hit reply and send me a message, because I love to hear from you. So if you have thoughts, you want to contribute, if you have ideas and want to let me know how this impacted you, what came up for you, or any requests for topics, that’s an easy way to do it. There’s also a link in the show notes if you want to send it via text to my email and let me know you are. Feedback and insights are invaluable to me, and I appreciate them so much. And now, without further ado, let’s get started. Hey there. I’m Valerie Friedlander, Certified Life business alignment coach, and this is unlimited. This podcast bridges the individual and the societal, scientific and spiritual, positive and negative, nerdy and no, there’s just a lot of nerdy. Come on board and let’s unlock a light that’s as badass as you are.

Valerie Friedlander 5:38
Welcome, Lisa, I am so excited to have you back on Unlimited

Lisa Zawrotny 5:42
I’m delighted to be back Valerie,

Valerie Friedlander 5:44
And I’m really looking forward to engaging this topic, because this is such a has a lot of stuff around it, and it is a core focus of what you do. And so I knew that when I wanted to say, let’s talk about this relationship that we have to productivity. I know exactly who to talk to.

Lisa Zawrotny 6:06
Yeah, this is when you say, what’s your wheelhouse? This would be it, or at least maybe it’s my soapbox. I don’t know it’s a combination of things, but they say, when you are trying to make a difference, you know to to think about what’s in your industry that really gets to you that you want and want to make changes with. And this would be that,

Valerie Friedlander 6:29
Yeah, absolutely. So before we dive into that, and perhaps as a kickoff, I like to ask people, as we start is, what is a limit that you took for granted that you’ve since unlearned.

Lisa Zawrotny 6:43
Oh, my goodness, this is really challenging to to express the right way. So bear with me. It really is. It sounds so simple, but it was such a heavy limit on me is that I I don’t have to do it all. I don’t have to keep saying yes, yeah, and it fits right into what we’re talking about today. But yeah, it reminds me so much of, you know, the stories of like the the elephant and the chain and the stake, right? And and, and being held into that place and not realizing that you have outgrown that, and that you could just pull the stake out, walk away,

Valerie Friedlander 7:27
Yeah, that you’re strong enough to do that, that you don’t actually have to stay there, and that, I mean, that was the idea with asking this question is because I feel like it is such an important as you said, we often choose our direction based off of things that we’re like, wait, no, that’s not right. No, you know, especially those of us who stepped into something wanting to change the world as it were.

Lisa Zawrotny 7:55
Yeah, it’s so true, yeah, and it is. It’s all that. It’s that trap that that was our trap,

Valerie Friedlander 8:04
And productivity is such a trap in the way it is often taught. I am curious what got you to focus on productivity.

Lisa Zawrotny 8:17
In a word, burnout, my own experience with being in survival mode, with with getting to that point where it’s like, okay, this isn’t a choice anymore. Of, can I do this? It’s literally like I cannot. And not even the joking I can, literally not even, but the the actual like, whoa, I’ve so this is what my actual, real, complete limit looks like, like, of my capacity, I should say, right? And this is me in a situation where I am a caregiver for my mom, and I have, at one point, a caregiver for her. She has Alzheimer’s. So this is so much already. Whenever you’re caring for someone, it’s a lot. And then there are levels, right then I had a an infant and a toddler, and I was forced into this understanding of you can only do Soma, and it was a lot to feel that way, to to, I guess, come to terms with these limits, and to to come to understand that there are, there are hard choices to be made, and they were essential at that time. But thankfully, I took those lessons with me when I wasn’t as overwhelmed and I was coming out of that burnout, that survival mode, I thought, well, if I had to make those choices, then when it was critical, why am I not making those same kinds of choices when life is calmer and I’m even more capable? So. That I can make space to be, to breathe, to do what I love. And that’s why, you know, one of the phrases I use so much is make space for what matters. We are constantly filling our lives with what we think we need to do. And I wanted to make space for and a lot of it was healing, too. I needed to make space for healing. But then as I kept healing, it was like, Well, why don’t I just keep that space around? Because I could use it.

Valerie Friedlander 10:29
Yeah, well, and it’s interesting. I definitely get the, you know, making space for what matters, because so often we’ve internalized stories around what matters. We’ve been told like, we have this story around what makes me a good mother, what makes me a good employee or business owner or spouse or whatever. So we have all of these, like, definitions that we’ve internalized that we haven’t unpacked. And I know that’s something you and I both work around, is like, how do we unpack that and really identify what actually matters. I feel like there’s another layer within that. There’s like a an even more nuanced layer, because when you talk about caring for people who you care about, right, and they matter to you. And the things that we do matter, like separating out, how do you identify? Not just like what matters, like separate from outside, external and you know, like internalized stories about like, what’s supposed to matter, what gives you value, versus feeling like you are valuable, but like, what actually, I want to do a million things. I know you work with multi passionate I work with multi passionates. And there’s this like, but I all of these things matter,

Lisa Zawrotny 11:52

Valerie Friedlander 11:53
What does it take to separate out like, what matters versus like what really matters.

Lisa Zawrotny 12:04
So as soon as you say that, you know, I have one response ready to go, which is very productivity coach response, but I want to share the personal caregiver response first, which is that, you know, in thinking back to being a caregiver for my mom, I’m honored that I was able to do it, but there’s a lot about that that I’m not okay with, in that that was conditioned in me, that it was something I had to do. I don’t I don’t regret it. And I also think that in understanding what matters is it’s the if you were to move on and say no to something, would you feel regret about it? Would you would that impact you further? Or would you feel relief? It’s, it’s kind of understanding something deep inside you that you respond to the it’s even when something’s difficult, like, I can’t live without that, or I couldn’t not do it, or, you know, sorry for the double negatives, but it’s, it’s those deep feelings. So that’s part of what matters. So I wanted to address that. And then on the productivity side, with the, especially the the multi passionate life, which we both live, as well as coach, I think, first and foremost, and this is a takeaway. Immediate takeaway is that, yes, it all matters, but not to the same degree and not at the same time. And understanding that lets you seek out what that prioritization actually is, especially within the context of your capacity.

Valerie Friedlander 13:40
Yeah, there’s a discernment process in that,

Lisa Zawrotny 13:43

Valerie Friedlander 13:44
And it, it sounds like it has a lot to do with time and space, not just what you want to do, but when is it necessary. And there’s so much conditioning around urgency that’s a huge social value that is extremely destructive, this idea that everything has to be done right now. So how do you define productivity?

Lisa Zawrotny 14:07
It’s such a big one, right? Okay, so first, I do want to share, since you said this was about relationships, right? And that this is a relationship to productivity that coming into this conversation, I was like, You know what? I think our relationship with productivity includes a misunderstanding of what it actually is and a misplaced sense of how what we do equals who we are and our value. I’m not saying that there isn’t connections, but that it’s, it’s a misplaced emphasis, if you will, on it. So with that in mind, we have productivity that we have been defining in a way that comes from the Industrial Revolution, right? Where you’re like, I want to make more things within a certain time frame. I want to get more done, to do more. And that’s all we’ve ever used as a definition, even though we are not, in fact. I mean, maybe, maybe you’re listening right now and you are, but for the most part, I have not been talking to or coaching or hanging out with or befriended factory workers. I That’s not what we are doing. Also, we don’t live in a world where that construct continues to exist, but we’ve kept the standards right. There’s so many lingering things our workday, for example, you know, the nine to five or the eight to whatever, and all of these constructs that exist. We are defining productivity around of doing more in a certain time period. But really, when you start to take a look at what it means to be productive. It’s an element of efficiency with allowing you to do what’s meaningful to you. When we talk about what matters, we’re going right back to that right and so maybe it is. How do you accomplish the most? But it’s the most of what matters given the amount of time and energy you have given what you want to devote yourself to what matters.

Valerie Friedlander 16:27

Lisa Zawrotny 16:28
So I think that’s the distinction.

Valerie Friedlander 16:31
Yeah. So, and what I’m hearing is like that difference between external definitions and our chosen internal definitions. And that difference between our value being caught up in what we can produce like for a factory being commodified Yes, versus what is important for us to show up to and not so, like, not our value being tied to the productivity, our values being honored by our productivity.

Lisa Zawrotny 17:09
Yeah, I love that reframe. Because, okay, when I’m when I’m working with clients, and we step back and we say, what does it really mean to be productive? And then essentially, you can start replacing it with different words, like, what does it like, what does it really mean to be successful? You know, to feel like you’ve achieved, to feel satisfied with your day. You know, to walk away going, Yeah, all right, what does it mean? And then we figure out how to achieve that. So we’ve defined productivity in this new way right? Redefined it essentially, and now to be productive in this newly defined way, here’s where I help you. Need to be able to do the right things at the right time, the right way for you.

Valerie Friedlander 17:59
It’s interesting. I’m wondering you use that terminology “the right way,” and I know that you and I have a very similar alignment around this. I think a lot of people are looking for the right way, but they’re afraid of the wrong way, and so the fear of the wrong way tends to motivate what they choose to do. When they’re saying they’re looking for the right way. What does it look like for you when you’re pursing that out? Because, you know, I heard you say right way for you. But I and I find that people get really caught up in their heads around that idea of like so, much of the conditioning around our value being tied up with our productivity, what we can produce. So being externalized, we disconnect from our intuition and our self knowing.

Lisa Zawrotny 18:44

Valerie Friedlander 18:45
So what does it look like for you and you’re working with somebody and you’re identifying like their right way?

Lisa Zawrotny 18:53
Okay, let me set the stage by addressing what you just did, which is the challenges that we have here, that the the traps that we fall into, right? Okay, first of all, that we talked about productivity. We talked about redefining that, but we haven’t addressed the other elephant in the room. It’s an elephant kind of day, which is busyness. So that’s a trap, right there. Okay, there’s a glorification of overwork, being constantly busy, constantly doing, and it’s equated in our society with success and with value. If you say you are so busy, when someone says, how are you? And by the way, I don’t allow that as an as an answer. So if we’re chatting and you say that, I’m like, oh, Try again. Try again. Tell me what’s going on with you. Not allowed. No, I mean, I say sometimes, like I’m in an active phase of life. I get it. I get it that there are times when we’re doing a lot, but it’s the glorification of busy that I am on my soapbox about. So here we have I’m busy, or I’ve had so much to do. What immediately happens, probably nine times out of 10, unless you’re chatting with one of us, is, oh, yeah, I get it, and you feel that sense of belonging, or you’re like, Wow, you got that much done. That’s amazing. It’s glorified and it’s lauded, and people will give you positive feedback for doing these activities that really do pave a path to burnout. This is my concern. So then you have this constant conversation going, then you have this comparison that’s happening, and I need to give a shout out to your episode on empowerment and comparison, because that right, that discussion right there, we have that with productivity too. Where we are, we see others doing things and we’re not thinking, okay, but I don’t want to be negative, but it’s more like realistic, all right, I would love to achieve what they’re achieving, at least what I’m perceiving they’re achieving, however, being realistic, I have two kids that are in certain activities right now. They do not I am helping care for a home and my mother in law. They are not I… Here are my… you know, again, I don’t always want to use the word limitations, but I do want to say that we have a certain capacity and we have certain demands, and we have other things that we again, it’s that value, right, the prioritization. And so what’s left in terms of my energy? And let’s not even get into the conversation about that, I’m in perimenopause, and boy, is that a ride and a half. But I know what I’m able to achieve without burnout, and so that’s that’s capacity, and so I need to keep my eyes on my own paper. That’s one of my favorite phrases from growing up. It’s the teachers and test taking, I realize, but, but it makes such a good point that I have to pay attention to me and what I’m doing. But we are so entrenched in this conversation of, ooh, look how much you got done, and you did that much, and you’re you’re constantly on the go and look at you, and you’ve said yes, and you’re helping, and all of this. So all that to say, if you take those traps and you step back and you say, okay, few things I just mentioned, right? How much energy do I have? What is my personal capacity to do things? What do I value? And I don’t value being the mom who always says yes and is, you know, at the school and volunteering. It’s not that I don’t value that as a role. I value when others do it, but I don’t value it enough to replace the other things that I’m doing.

Valerie Friedlander 23:08
Well, I was hearing also acknowledging your gifts. Yes, like so for me, being around kids is draining. I enjoy it, but I have to recognize my capacity, like how much energy I have for a particular task, or how much energy a particular task uses, yes, for me is going to be different also than how much it uses for another person.

Lisa Zawrotny 23:32

Valerie Friedlander 23:33
And so that comparison thing just doesn’t even it can’t work also, because most of the time we’re only seeing like such a small snapshot of what’s going on for them. We have no idea if they’re over their capacity or not.

Lisa Zawrotny 23:44
Oh yeah. And most times, actually, I’m looking at them and I’m like, wow, they really are. But there’s something in them. You know, there’s so many things I’m thinking, codependence. And again, I don’t want to be an armchair psychologist here, but, but, you know, it’s that need to say, yes, the people pleasing, all the all the things you know, the people that that we work with, the people you know that that’s something that I’ve been so I’m definitely a recovering people pleaser, to be sure, still kind of a peacemaker. But I also know that one of the most important areas for peace is within me, because I show up my best…

Valerie Friedlander 24:21

Lisa Zawrotny 24:22
When… When that’s the case. So to your point, and this does answer the initial question, let’s start at the segment of our conversation, which is, what is the right choice for us then? Or how do we figure that out, that self knowing of what we value, so that we can have that discernment and prioritize the different potential activities to say yes to the energy that we have to even accomplish them, and the strengths that we have, because those things that we are stronger at are more satisfying take less energy, and so therefore that’s efficiency, right there. That’s productivity right there, when you’re like, Oh, well, let me lean into my strengths, and that’s the positive psychology bend that I have to this is instead of the what’s not working, and you need to address what’s not working, but let’s really focus on what is working and weight it heavily toward that.

Valerie Friedlander 25:21
Yeah, and I’ve definitely seen this mode, which I love that you brought up, like the positive psychology, because so often it’s used in this way that diminishes that there is a problem in a way, like, oh, let’s lean on what’s working and ignore the other things, instead of leaning on what’s working so that we can build upon it, to engage what’s not working, like, rather than focusing our energy on what’s not working, let’s focus our energy, not necessarily in the tactile pieces, but in the like, how am I trying to say this like, What’s working in terms of, how am I showing up? That allows me to do the things so that I can look at what needs to be done and go, Is this mine to do? Do I need to ask for help? You know, is this a is this a delegating situation? Because my strengths don’t apply to what needs to be done as well as someone else’s, and so I appreciate that you brought that up.

Lisa Zawrotny 26:27
Yeah, there’s both, and we do need to address what isn’t working. And I think that leaning into our strengths, leaning into the positive, even we’ve talked about this in the context of gratitude is that we’re building reinforcements for ourselves. We’re building that peace that I talked about. We’re building confidence, and we’re building that resilience that allows us to make those difficult choices, to say no when we need to to step back and reflect for a moment, to take a deep breath and go, whoa, wait a minute. This is not for me, what you were describing in terms of, Is this even for me? I love asking the question, when you are feeling like we go back to that urgency thing you mentioned before, I love asking the question, who’s urgent is it?

Valerie Friedlander 27:22
Well, and you know, this came up the other day in a conversation that urgency is often weaponized. It’s not that things aren’t urgent. It’s that when we create urgency or play or use it as a judgment upon others, there is urgency here, and you’re not doing it the way that I think you should be done, or are you’re not prioritizing the way I think you should be prioritizing. It’s the ways that we look at people in a minimization or or it’s removing their humanity, really. It’s, it’s looking at them through our own scope and judging them based off of how they’re showing up to a situation as tied to their value in the world. I’m curious if we take that and look at like this idea of productivity, I think to kind of like that side to what you were saying about glorifying busyness is like weaponizing urgency is like a facet of that as well.

Lisa Zawrotny 28:28
Oh, absolutely. And, I mean, I think just weaponizing productivity is that, are you being productive? Because if you’re not, then that’s a bad thing, you know? And so then that’s why I’m constantly there. Soon as it happens, hello. Mind if I interject? Thank you. Even if you do mind I’m still interjecting.

Valerie Friedlander 28:48
Pause, please.

Lisa Zawrotny 28:49
Yes, exactly. First of all, what do you mean by productive? Let’s take a step back. Shall we? This is why I’m constantly having the conversations about, well, let’s talk about rest, because people think that’s anti productivity, and it’s like, no, it’s productive. And here’s why. But to your point, and this is so incredibly important, and it’s the reason why I constantly use the word compassionate with productivity. I talk about, you know, helping people with compassionate productivity, being a compassionate productivity coach, and it, it sounds like it, it should be a dichotomy of some sort of weird juxtaposition, at the very least. And I want people to start thinking that way, because the idea is, yes, we can be productive in the idea of being more efficient, creating space and and and achieving things that are meaningful to us. Yeah, we want to get ish done. Absolutely. That’s important, but we need to do it considering that we’re human first and foremost, and you’re right. When you start to weaponize urgency productivity, you’re taking the. Manity out of it, and everything that you’ve described so clearly constantly goes to that external and and so when we say, well, then what’s the right way? It’s going back to the internal, which is what you’re all about.

Valerie Friedlander 30:15
Yeah, I’m really hearing that, you know, we want to talk about separating our value from what we can produce. It’s it’s placing a priority upon our humanity first and then looking at what do we want to create? What do we want to build? What are we putting into the world from a place of honoring our natural, innate value as a human being and the gifts that we have that don’t necessarily look like everybody else’s.

Lisa Zawrotny 30:50
Yeah, and so this segues beautifully into another concept I wanted to make sure we brought up to date. And this talk about a big trap is enoughness, so us feeling like we’re enough, which is where the struggle comes, which is why we’re we fall into the busy trap so readily. And believe me, when I talk about this, I’m not immune.

Valerie Friedlander 31:14
Me neither.

Lisa Zawrotny 31:15
So I keep learning and I keep wanting to bring it up. And thank you so much for having this conversation, because the more we could talk about it, the more we can join forces and realize, no, we’re not alone in this. But then the other question too, and this goes back to when you say, what matters. And you say, You know what, what does productivity mean to you? Is okay? Well, then what’s enough? What’s productive enough? You know, get the air quotes in there. And I mentioned this because people have legitimately with something called productivity anxiety, where no matter how much they do, how much they work, how much they accomplish, it doesn’t feel like enough. So we have to stop and think, Well, what is enough? It’s like having an address on the GPS. It’s the whole perfectionism thing, right? You’re well, what is perfect? So if you can identify what that is, then we can have a goal and we can figure out how we’re doing. But if you don’t have an actual you know, final destination, so to speak, was the same thing with with productivity, if you’re not like, well, what is enough? And that’s why redefining it and redefining it internally can be such a beautiful thing. Sometimes jokingly, as a mom, I’ll be like, Well, everybody’s alive and relatively fed, I think, and the whole works done. Woo. It’s a win, you know, it’s a productive day, or just feeling like I’ve tried my best. Or, you know, checking things off my to do list that helped others, that made a difference in the world, and I did it with a good night’s sleep and without feeling like I was going to collapse. You know, like, those get to be achievements too. Those get to be wins. And that’s how we get to define, are we being productive, and is it a good thing?

Valerie Friedlander 33:04
Yeah. I mean, I’m almost hear, like, even just saying, I showed up in alignment, I showed up in integrity. I showed up to my values.

Lisa Zawrotny 33:12
Yeah, yes. You know, in the green room, I was telling you about saying no to something I didn’t even want to say no to, but I said no to it, because I’ve made promises to others, because I have a certain capacity, and so it’s not easy, but I’m proud of it, and I feel like I’m walking my talk right, showing up in alignment. You’re absolutely right. That’s a win.

Valerie Friedlander 33:39
Yeah, I feel like that also ties into the last was the last time we, I had you on, we talked about grief, and the fact that sometimes saying no means that we have grief, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes we have to let go of something that we don’t want to let go of, but other things need to take priority, and that means that there’s going to be sorrow.

Valerie Friedlander 33:58

Valerie Friedlander 33:59
There’s going to be those things that we label these are bad emotions. They’re not bad emotion. They’re part of being human. And when we’re honoring our whole humanity, that means that some of that is not fun, right?

Lisa Zawrotny 34:10
And when we honor those, I really feel like it’s a beautiful process in terms of the healing and acceptance that has to go on. And you know, in many cases, the things that we are voluntarily letting go of, and we grieve, you know, for whatever reason, sometimes it is a not now, and we can take heart with that as well.

Valerie Friedlander 34:32

Lisa Zawrotny 34:33
And that goes back to we talked about timing and understanding that I talk in terms of, like, how we we need to see the current projects that we’re working on our to do list the things that we’re, you know, focused on in different categories. And sometimes are things that don’t belong, you know. And that’s where the boundaries come in, and saying no and and, and being firm about what’s allowed in. Yeah. Yeah, and then there are things that we absolutely must, need to do, want to do, but then there are areas in between where maybe we can get help, that’s, you know, delegating, or we can defer. It’s a not now, and that does actually ease, I think, the the struggle when, especially you have to say no to something that you didn’t want to

Valerie Friedlander 35:25
Yeah, well, and I appreciate you bringing up the help piece, because I think one of the big reasons that I see people not welcoming help is because of that enoughness. I haven’t done enough to earn this help, right, like I had, and that ties very much to the, you know, external productivity. I have to do enough to earn receiving is that, like I produce and then I get paid. If I haven’t produced enough, then I am not worth being paid. And that’s that other, like internalized programming around the industrial revolution that we still carry over. And I love that you brought that up, but they we have to feel like we’re enough to receive.

Lisa Zawrotny 36:09
Yeah, and that there’s the value is only in us doing the doing. And you know what that completely discounts, by the way, is, is the the mental labor part of it, right? Like, I mean, when I think about how much I could potentially delegate, but I had to think about it. I had to organize it, orchestrate it, keep track of it. That’s mental load, right there. And and so it’s very easy for us to pass that off and keep thinking that we need to be doing the doing. And I was thinking about that before our conversation, too, that I was raised in a way, and it’s it comes from a beautiful place, I think of I wouldn’t ask you to do anything that I’m not going to do myself, and that good leaders are in the trenches, right? And, and we have a lot of these sort of stories and phrases that I do think come from a very good place, but they can be misconstrued to mean that we always have to be doing,

Valerie Friedlander 37:12
Yeah, yeah, that it has to be ours to do.

Lisa Zawrotny 37:16

Valerie Friedlander 37:17
Absolutely. This is amazing. And there’s so many things that I mean, I I love again, really recognizing our own definition and how important that is for also that recognition of our capacity. And you know, you can’t fill a cup if you don’t have a cup.

Lisa Zawrotny 37:41
So simple, but yes,

Valerie Friedlander 37:43
Like you’re gonna pour into nothing. So having that enough net like, this is what enough looks like. This is what looks like when my cup is full. This is what my cup it looks or feels like when my cup is floweth over and all of those sorts of things. And so with that in mind, I I like to ask as we wrap up what it means to you to be unlimited, recognizing that that can seem in congruence, but I’m curious how you will answer that.

Lisa Zawrotny 38:17
You know, it’s funny, because I knew that you would ask this question, but I wanted to allow myself to just be in the moment when you asked it. And for me, unlimited is freedom. But what we forget is that freedom isn’t like everything and all at once, it’s freedom to choose, to prioritize, to fill my cup up the way that is best for me, and then the freedom to change my mind when it’s not working anymore, and then the freedom to adjust and to just absolutely love where I’m At. And then the freedom to say, oh, it’s not working again. It’s that freedom of creation and choice and combining. That’s what Unlimited is. For me.

Valerie Friedlander 39:13
I love that. That’s fabulous. Before I ask our last question, I love for you to share where people can connect with you.

Lisa Zawrotny 39:21
Thank you for asking. Obviously you are listening to an amazing podcast here, so I’d be honored if you’d hop over and join me on mine. Positively Living and you will find Valerie there chatting with me on multiple episodes. You can basically find all the ways to reach me through my website, and if you want to have some fun and some laughs, watch me do ridiculous reels, then you can find me on Instagram. @Positively_Lisa.

Valerie Friedlander 39:56
Awesome. And now for one of the favorites. What song are you currently listening to when you want to evoke that unlimited feeling?

Lisa Zawrotny 40:07
And the multi passionate in me always says, don’t make me choose. It is so difficult to choose, you know, and I’m fairly certain, and again, I kind of wanted to be in the moment when I answered this, because I’m pretty sure last time I probably said a million dreams, right?

Valerie Friedlander 40:27

Lisa Zawrotny 40:27
Yeah, I knew I did, because that still tracks. But I wanted to offer up a new one that puts me in that that zone, if you will. And I decided to go with something that isn’t as literal. And more is that feeling of that freedom I talked about, and it’s More Than a Feeling by Boston.

Valerie Friedlander 40:51
Oh, I’m so excited to put that on the playlist.

Valerie Friedlander 40:53
Yes, never,

Lisa Zawrotny 40:55
never, a bad addition to a playlist. So it’s all good.

Valerie Friedlander 40:59
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Lisa, for joining me and for sharing. This has been an amazing conversation.

Lisa Zawrotny 41:07
It’s always an amazing conversation with you, Valerie, thank you so much.

Valerie Friedlander 41:10
Thanks for listening. I so appreciate you being here. If you got something out of today’s episode, please share it, leave me a review, take a screenshot and post it on social with a shout out to me, send it to a friend, or, you know, all of the above. Want to hang out more, join me on Instagram, or, better yet, get on my mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out on anything. And remember your possibilities are as unlimited as you are. Allow yourself to shine, my friend, the world needs your light. See you next time you.

Transcribed by

In this episode of Unlimited, I invited Lisa Zawrotny (she/her) to join me in a conversation about redefining our relationship to productivity to support our mental health and well-being.

Some of what we talk about in this episode includes:

  • The Industrial Revolution’s influence on how we understand productivity
  • Choosing where to utilize your energy based on your capacity
  • Clarifying your values and releasing shoulds
  • The glorification of overwork and weaponization of urgency
  • Defining enough for goal setting and knowing YOU are enough

Rethinking Empowerment and Releasing Comparison
Loving Yourself Through Grief
Why Work Life Balance is a Myth
The Myths Around Productivity


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