productivity

What Keeping a Garden Can Teach You About Productivity

July 18, 2022

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What Keeping a Garden Can Teach You About Productivity

Gardening is a relaxing, productive hobby. It gets you away from your desk, moving your body, breathing fresh air and soaking up vitamin D. Plus, getting to see the tangible results of your hard work is incredibly satisfying. But did you know that there are even more benefits to tending a garden than you may realize?

If you’re like me, you’re spending a slightly slower summer checking things off your list. Not your to-do list, but your summer bucket list! Adding fun to my routine is one of my goals for 2022, so I’ve planned activities like backyard movie nights and sitting down with a great breezy beach read. And if you want to start a new hobby or revisit an old one, why not try gardening?Gardening gets us outside, away from our desks, and moving our bodies. It’s good for us physically, but mentally and emotionally, too: gardening helps manage stress, protect memory, and boost mood. It even benefits your work skills by improving your productivity.

Patience is a virtue

Unless you live in a tropical paradise, you can’t grow everything you want year-round. 

Summer is a great time to plant carrots, cucumbers, watermelons, and herbs. You can plant gorgeous flowers like peonies, sunflowers, and marigolds, too. Can you do the same thing in November and December? Nope. (Unless you grow some herbs and flowers inside your home!)

That’s where patience comes in. It may seem like trying to do all the things and working at breakneck speed 24/7 is a more productive way to get things done, but it’s not. It’s more stressful and you’re more likely to make mistakes or get burnt out. Making your productivity suffer!

With patience, however, you can delegate some of your tasks. Hire someone to share the workload. Move things that aren’t urgent out on your calendar. 

Just like you can’t make your garden bloom in one day, you can’t complete your entire to-do list in one sitting. Cultivating patience will help you get things done with more ease and less stress.

Make the most of your time and resources — both in the garden and out

What are valuable resources to your garden? Soil, water, and sunlight are the big three. So what happens if there’s a drought in your city? Soil that’s just not right for some of your plants? A huge storm headed your way? You rethink your strategy for maintaining your garden.

Maybe you make a plan to water your garden at certain times. Or you try mixing two forms of soil to give your plants what they need. Or move or cover what plants you can to protect them from the coming storm.

And even when there isn’t a crisis going on, you still need time management and resource management skills to successfully maintain your garden. Everything grows at different rates, which you’ll need to remember when plucking ripe fruit or veggies. You’ll need to remember it for pruning trees or propagating plants, too.

You can apply these skills to your non-gardening time, too. For example, by identifying which commitments require the most time and energy. Or by choosing the task that’s top priority for you on any given day. 

Your time is precious, and when you have a lot on your plate, it can be difficult to know where to start. Use your gardening skills to block out time efficiently and get things done.

Treating each plant (and commitment) with the right approach

Not all plants are made the same, and some just can’t grow together. Tomatoes make bad company because they hog all the water and space, so they need to be separated. Some plants benefit from indirect light, while others soak up all the sun they can get. 

If you have multiple children — this applies to fur children, too — I bet they’re wildly different, right? One’s shy and independent and the other one’s extroverted and full of energy. Or one loves reading before bedtime with you, while the other prefers to hang out while you run errands.

Both have different needs, wants, strengths, weaknesses. That means both require unique approaches to meet those needs. Think about how you treat one of your kiddos when they’re upset. Do you use the same approach with your other child?

Throwing every seed and cutting together in one big plot of dirt would make gardening really easy, but that’s not how it works. Approaching everything in your life with the same attitude, energy level, or amount of time won’t work, either. 

You have to take each commitment, each “plant,” as it is so you can understand how to best help it move forward.

Keep tending your garden…or get started

Patience, time and resource management, and tending to specific needs. Three productivity skills you can improve by keeping your own garden. It’s wonderful when our hobbies help us become better business owners, parents, and people, isn’t it?

I’ll leave you with a quick tip if you’re completely new to gardening. First, start small. Why do you want to garden?

Whether you want to grow and eat your own food, have beautiful flowers on your kitchen table, or help keep the air clean in your home, understanding your why will help you choose what to grow first. Find plants, herbs, or flowers that speak to you and your purpose, just as you would when choosing your commitments.

Now, go start your garden. And enjoy yourself!


In this solo episode, I talk about:

  • The mind and body benefits of keeping a garden
  • How gardening cultivates patience
  • How tending plants improves your time and resource management skills
  • Why a one-size-fits-all approach just won’t work sometimes

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