Being Intentional Even When Inefficient: The secret to unlearning toxic productivity

Uncomfortable truth time:

We live in a culture where efficiency, achievements, and accomplishments are overly celebrated, while rest, simplicity, and saying “no” are seen as synonymous with laziness and failure. The pressure to constantly be contributing to and exceeding some greater expectation is immense, and it starts practically in infancy (how many times do you get people asking if your baby is sleeping through the night yet when they’ve got zero developmental reason to do so, or how about the premise that preschool-aged children should sit indoors for hours on end and somehow receive a quality education?) 

Especially as mamas, the assumption that we not only should and can “do it all” but that we actually want to, is majorly damaging. It’s no wonder that so many moms are chronically stressed.

Marysia Miernowska, a teacher, author, green witch, and healer, appeared on the Inspire North podcast to talk about unlearning this ingrained mentality, and instead focusing on “being intentional even when inefficient.” We Are AMMA co-founders Emily Baldoni and Satya Twena are apprentices in Marysia’s School of the Sacred Wild, and they’re sharing what they’ve learned (and unlearned) throughout their experience.

There’s something uncomfortable with being an “inefficient mom.” 

Let’s dig into that.

For a long time, the party line has been that women are better multitaskers than men because of the way our brains are wired. But a recent study showed that women are not better at multitasking at all…we just DO more. This isn’t a dig at our incredibly supportive partners (or yours!), but rather a commentary on the ridiculous standards women (and mamas, by extension) are held to…standards of domestic duties, of workplace accomplishments, of personal appearance and grooming, of the mental load required to manage not only our own lives but those of our families, etc. The not-so-subtle implication is that if we want to be “good” moms and raise our children “well,” these are just the things we have to do.

Here’s the secret truth…when we are intentional with the energy and time we spend on “tasks.” it frees us up to show up intentionally and be present with our kids – and that’s the most important thing we’re trying to accomplish. Our kids don't need to see us achieve more, they need to witness us slow down and enjoy life more.

As we unlearn and unravel and step more into our true feminine nature, we are learning that what gives us joy, pleasure, and peace is not always in the doing but in the being (yes, it’s a cliche, but it’s also profoundly true). It can feel scary to depart so much from the norm and the societal expectation. But when we dive into the truth of that statement, there is bliss on the other side.

Here are some examples of things we do on a daily basis that are intentional and inefficient:

  1. Taking a walk without listening to a podcast or music/making a call/checking our phones, etc.
  2. Driving in silence (no radio, language lessons, news)
  3. When we’re in the bleeding season (experiencing our periods), honoring our cycles and giving ourselves as much horizontal rest as possible
  4. Eliminating niceties…yes, it’s ok to not be “good” all the time (this is a really hard one for lots of women in particular)
  5. Learning to listen and being 100% present in our interactions as a gift to all involved
  6. Stopping and smelling the flowers literally and figuratively…focus on the fragrance of gardens, freshly cut grass, ocean air; also focus on being in the moment with our kids, our partners, ourselves
  7. Savoring our food – smell it, look at it, eat it slowly (bonus: this is also much better for digestion)
  8. Taking time and feeling into our answers before responding to something urgent
  9. Learning to sit with uncomfortable feelings without trying to solve them

Look, we know that life is busy…jobs, chores, errands, etc. And we’re not saying that you should be able to ignore the responsibilities you have. BUT it’s all about making the space and allowing yourself the freedom to actually prioritize inefficiency.

Not sure if it’ll work? We want to challenge you to try and do a few things from the above list intentionally, resisting the urge to squeeze more activities within the activities, and see how you feel. Start with something small that will only take 5 minutes, like preparing a cup of pour-over coffee, and then a 10-minute walk, and then a 30 minute drive…and see what a difference being intentionally inefficient makes.


More Resources:

What if all I want is a mediocre life?
Marysia Miernowska’s Instagram
The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary: Rituals & Recipes for a Year of Earth Magick and Sacred Medicine Making


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