The traditional view of productivity that has been pounded into your head is so wrong.
You’re almost never “traditionally” productive. So stop freaking out. Honestly it sucks seeing how stressed people get about their work, even when they love it. Your real productivity will never be quantifiable in the “output over hours worked” model that businesses use. That has nothing to do with personal productivity! There is so much more to you being productive that whatever tangible output you accomplished today.
Do you find yourself dismayed when you have an idea, but can’t seem to put extra structure to it upon reflection? It’s a relatable feeling. We all want to see our ideas come to fruition, and are almost always willing to put in extra work. But even if you can’t… why are you upset? You had an IDEA! Do you understand how fucking cool that is? That’s abstract thought. That’s peak terrestrial consciousness. You came up with an electrical impulse that fucking meant something? WHAT? Just now thinking about how cool thoughts are my mind is being blown, and at one point you came up with one that had NEVER been thought before? You quite literally, momentarily, rival Einstein at that time. I want to be a writer, a philosopher, a marketer, a politician, a diplomat, an actor, a musician, and a whole host of other things. You want to know how many ideas I have a day? Like, good, content driving, possibly inspirational ideas? Two on a good day. And most of the time they are: what if I gave this character the ability to time travel, or should I write a blog about having ideas, or hot damn what if I put feta cheese on this pizza? Every once in awhile I hit gold though: one time I thought a short story about a species with four arms would be cool. Now I am working on creating a fictional Universe about an Earth-Like planet and a bunch of other weird stuff. That is how ideas work! Write them down! Think about them more than once! It really doesn’t matter at all if you can further anything about it right now, that idea was the most integral part of your soon to be creative process!
Want to really, really know why you’re almost never “traditionally” productive? You’re a living being! I don’t mean you engage in destructive habits to avoid productivity, you just have to spend most of your productivity being a person! Eating, sleeping, loving, showing, hiding, pooping, crying, aging, growing, eating again, you’re most important productive times occur when they are strictly for you. Without that, the rest of the shit doesn’t matter!
I do have some advice in terms of being productive, because I’m sure you didn’t click this to hear some hippie tell you that work isn’t the most important thing in life. I am and it’s not, but that’s not my point here. If you want some tangible advice, I have a few quick tips for you:
1. Eat slightly more than enough food on a day you hope to be productive. Just do it.
2. Find a flow process. There are an infinite number of structures out there, but only a few will work, but one will work wonders. How do you find it? Trial and error. Then perfect it. You will know once you’ve found it because holy shit all of a sudden you produced so much stuff and didn’t realize it was happening, how did you do that? Because you found out how you work, silly.
3. It’s impossible to be productive when your emotions aren’t playing the same game as you. Have a nice long talk with them. Go to a movie together. Eat some chocolate. It’s not about being happy, or content, it’s about being able to let yourself create or do.
4. Procrastinate. This might not make a lot of sense, but have you ever noticed you can, for some reason, write a seven page paper in an hour if its due the next day? That’s still productivity! I’m not saying you should procrastinate everything. In fact, it’s still best if you don’t. But it happens sometimes! So utilize that panic mode to get shit done!
5. Write so much down. Even one phrase notes about stupid ideas you had. They might be usable at some point.
6. Don’t listen to me. Like I said, I had an idea and rolled with it. It seems right to me, and damn I seem witty in this blog, but we are all different. I have no clue how you work, and for all you know I’m crazy.
There you have it. You’re doing fine. If you are feeling anxiety set in because things aren’t progressing as you saw them in your head, try to breathe, because you seriously crush it 24/7. 90% of your life grade comes from eating healthy and sleeping. I personally am proud of myself every time I cook breakfast. Because I know for a year it was coffee and cigarettes. Guess who got nothing done back then? *Points thumbs at self* this guy.
Stephen is a student at the University of Montana. He can’t come to the phone right now, please leave a message after the *beep*.