A few years ago in a galaxy … well, in this galaxy to be honest … productivity would have exclusively meant analyzing data, writing a publication, grading papers, or doing something else school/work related.

Nowadays, productivity can still look a little like that. I definitely work on lesson plans in the evening at least a few nights a week.

This weekend, I was productive, but it looked a little different.

I was supposed to go on a camping trip to Hillsborough River State Park. A friend and I were going to bike from St. Pete, FL to the campsite (a 50-mile ride!!). A few other folks would meet up with us that evening, and we’d all ride back the next day.

Well, a couple of people went up to the park on Friday. The tent camping area is still waterlogged and partially flooded from Hurricane Irma. Many of the amenities at the park were closed. The forecast also predicted more rain. We decided to call it a wash (hah!). So no camping trip.

Bike route from DTSP to Pass-a-Grille and back.

But my friend and I still went for a ride Saturday morning. We rode south and around to Pass-a-Grille. Along the way we stopped at Bay Vista park. Dolphins swam and pelicans and anhingas were gorging themselves on fish. There’s a lovely view of the Skyway there. We rode through the pink streets of Pinellas Point. There is a ton of cool architecture there, though I still can’t imagine having as big of a house as some of those were…. We went over the GINORMOUS overpass to Pass-a-Grille. I made it up, but it hurt. I felt like puking for a few seconds…

Once in Pass-a-Grille we bought seafood kabobs from nationalist shopkeepers at a local deli, and then rode a little further down to munch, rest, and talk. Going back, we had to go back over that GINORMOUS overpass. It felt better than the first time. I was more mentally prepared to pace myself… đŸ™‚ We took the from there we headed north on the Skyway Trail until it merged with Pinellas Trail. We got rained on the latter part of the trip, but it wasn’t terrible. Enough to cool us off, but we could still see.

Productivity: Getting up on a Saturday and going for a long-ish bike ride with a new friend. Conversating, but also working towards a future goal (i.e. 2018 Canada bike trip).

Later I worked on a leather project I started a few weeks back. It was nearly done! Just needed straps. I hand-stitched everything. I hand-set the rivets. I engineered a way to get the strap and facing the right direction. I tried to keep as many of the “imperfections” of the leather I could intact. It’s definitely a unique piece.

Productivity: Working on a hobby that assuages my creativity and results in useful things.

Today I washed and folded (!!) laundry. I fixed my brakes on my bike. I cleaned my stove, a long overdue task. I volunteered with NOMAD Art Bus.

Productivity: Getting the chores done that need to get done and giving back to my community.

Since finishing my Ph.D., I’ve been striving for balance. I love my job, but it is a job I could contribute 60 hours a week too and still not do all of the things. I know I have to let go of some of that and take care of myself. I’m getting better at it. I’m better able to set boundaries that protect my health and sanity, while still doing a good job teaching.

I’m changing my definition of productivity. I think it’s starting to mesh with another definition: living. Or maybe thriving.

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