Tag Archives: productivity

Don’t Ruin Your Life (Today)

Supposed to be studying something else last night but decided to watch a documentary on H.R. Giger instead.

I wonder if, to really dive deep into story and borrowed/vicarious/masked/translated experience… One needs to develop comfort with the subject matter. Or if one can go there while, or because, they are deeply uncomfortable.

Maybe, if you can’t do it sober, you can’t do it.

Got to chatting with a buddy with whom I share some of the same, shall we say vices. It was comforting, because it made me feel like less of a freak; but also discomforting, because it reinforced the boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable.

And why, based on how many steps we can take toward manifesting real-life nightmares just to give me something to claw through.

Looking at Giger’s art in Giger’s house, the omnipresence of Eros and Thanatos, got me to thinking about vices, addictions, and fascinations — and how deeply they’re ingrained into who we are. They indicate something vital, maybe not what kind of life we want; but what we want to use our lives to explore.

It’s up to us how we channel those frustrations and fascinations.

Which makes me wonder if procrastination and alcoholism function the same way, and if mastering both is something we have to take one day at a time.

As my brother says, “don’t ruin your life today.”


Compensating For Your Weaknesses

Whenever I hear that someone has finished a book, published a book, or is off to perform at an open-mic, I get jealous. I feel like I’m a stupid, talentless, lazy worm that talks a lot and produces nothing.

On the first day of fifth grade, everyone in my class received a homework planner. Each day had lots of space for us to write assignments, appointments, and other notes — and have room left over for stickers. From the moment I popped that sucker into my TrapperKeeper all the way through college, I’ve relied on planners. I still slice off the upper right corner so I can thumb directly to the page I need.

My memory sucks. If I don’t have a planner, I don’t know what day it is.

I’ve gone through lots of other planners of varying sizes, colors, formats, school-year, calendar-year, spiral bound, thread-bound, plastic-covered and gold-tipped. Sadly, I haven’t been able to reconcile the size of the planner with the size of a pocket. I really enjoyed Lauren’s blog post that mentioned keeping a writing kit. I built one that includes printed critiques, a notepad, a black pen, a red pen, a highlighter, business cards and sticky notes.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how lazy or talented you are. It doesn’t matter how good your memory is. You are how you are, and there’s no shame in that. The key to success is identifying your weaknesses and putting systems in place to help you work around them.

Cowards make the best tacticians — they don’t want to die.
Lazy people are the most efficient — they don’t want to work hard.

Think about what you want to accomplish. Think about what’s in the way. Now… consider what it would take to never have to worry about that obstacle again.

Efficiency is intelligent laziness.”
― David Dunham

A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later.”
― George S. Patton

Get on it.


Productivity Through Procrastination (Seriously)

Deadpool loves pancakes (and belongs to Marvel Comics.)

I’ve learned to appreciate procrastination as a useful force.  Procrastination, for me at least, becomes incredibly productive. Whether there’s a pancake or a crepe on my plate, I’m still eating that day, and that’s ok.

Pancakes are thick. Pancakes are a main event. You slather all this stuff on a pancake to enjoy the pancake. Pancake days are when you have extra energy — like thick ribbons of batter — devote yourself wholeheartedly to one thing, one project, one goal. When you’re focused, and you immerse yourself in what you’re trying to do, you’re guaranteed to get something out of it.

Crepes on the other hand spread thin. There’s not as much energy or motivation to work with, so it’s impossible to lay anything on thick. Crepes are usually a vehicle to deliver other things to your mouth anyway. There is no main project, but lots of other interesting things, like spinach & feta, or strawberries and chocolate syrup. Crepe days are when you devote a little bit of energy to a lot of different pursuits.

I had a crepe day this weekend. I had all kinds of writing projects I wanted to do, grown-up chores I needed to handle, phone calls I promised I’d make, and theater dates that I broke without so much as a lame excuse. I didn’t want to do a damned thing. I didn’t even want to catch up on Netflix. I was so deep into procrastinating that I couldn’t be bothered with the normal things I did to procrastinate. I ended up playing violin for hours. I haven’t touched that thing in years. As much as I wanted to get stuff done, and felt truly awful about not touching any of it, I can’t call it a wasted day.

In truth, there are no wasted days. Check in with yourself. If you feel like you’re spread TOO thin, pick a project and have a pancake day: immerse yourself in one pursuit. If you’re knee-deep and you want out, have a crepe day: reconnect with things you haven’t had a chance to enjoy. You’ll still eat that day, and that’s ok.

Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed not because we’re taking on too much, but because we’re taking on too little of what really strengthens us.”
― Marcus Buckingham

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”
― Sun Tzu