What My Garden Taught Me About Productivity


What My Garden Taught Me About Productivity

Life is so fast.

I don’t know about you but my weeks are utterly jammed with appointments, and in between the appointments I find myself checking emails and social media or catching up on phone calls and desk work. It doesn’t stop at home either. There are school engagements, sports, kid’s social activities and then there’s the never-ending battle of wills. At the end of the week, I would fall into a slump if it wasn’t for housework, weekend sport and the occasional social activity.

It’s little wonder I find it hard to slow down. Running at that frenetic pace becomes a habit and maybe even addictive. Have you ever noticed the tricks your mind plays on you when you think through the long, long list of things you want to do? When I find a quiet moment to contemplate ‘what next?’, my mind races from that book to my next blog post, a report, a client call, fixing the website to writing a media release. It is relentless.

When it was first suggested that I should consider gardening as a hobby, I tossed up between sticking pins in my eyes versus getting my hands in the soil. Even though I’m a country girl, I’ve never been that interested in pursuits of dirt and besides, while I really liked the idea of a lovely garden I hardly viewed gardening as a good use of my time.

However; I still recall that first ‘real day’ of creating a garden under the instructive guidance of a friend. The angst very quickly slipped away, and I experienced something truly wonderful.


I love being outside and being able to touch and feel the dirt in my hands was something else. The benefits continued as I took pride in the fact that my hard work was feeding my family and I watched with great excitement as the next lot of seeds transformed into something delicious, or a beautiful flower. But that’s not all I’m learning from the garden.

Now with just a little more knowledge under my belt, I traipse out to my garden with a specific part of the plot in mind. I tune out to the weeds in the next section and bring my focus to the task at hand and only that. I wriggle and writhe mentally for some time as I realise I can only do this bit today, and I assure myself that the trade-off is that I will do it well. Then as time and a bit of elbow grease goes by, I step back and realise I have achieved something.

My body aches and my hands are covered in dirt; I feel like I’ve worked today. I know now that when the stress of life gets on top of me, this is the place I can go, get my hands dirty and slow down. I know now that productivity isn’t always defined by how many things are produced, but the quality of those things.

These are the things my garden has taught me about productivity; I urge you to try them out too and if you don’t have your own garden see if you can take part in a community plot.

  1. It’s important to have a vision before you start and a plan to get you there, even if it’s only etched in your mind.
  2. Break big jobs down into smaller, achievable components.
  3. Preparation is key.
  4. Creative thinking is better achieved when the world is slow.
  5. The right equipment isn’t always essential, but it makes the job a lot easier.
  6. The slow, laborious work may be tedious however it gets the job done.
  7. Take time to stop and reflect.
  8. Slowing the world down is good for longer-term productivity.
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  • Renee Hasseldine

    This is such a thoughtful piece. I find I have two modes: “steam train” and “off” and I too enjoy getting out into the garden. Thanks for writing this piece Kerry.

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