Productivity

(All my posts are just for fun. If I talk about something medical, ignore it. Never take my advice on anything. Truly.)

Everyone has trouble focusing. We live in a world where there are numerous interesting things to do, and it only takes seconds to get access to those interesting things. As a chronic multitasker myself, I am completely guilty of separating my focus onto three different tasks at once. For example, the other morning I found myself reading, watching television, and answering texts messages at one time. I should probably have been ashamed, but I wasn’t. In fact, I was proud of myself. Here I was, maximizing my time, using different gadgets, and keeping in touch with my family and friends.

The truth of the matter is, we can’t really focus on that many activities at once. The television show I was watching, I had seen hundreds of times before, and the messages I was writing didn’t require much effort. You could say I was only really soaking in the book.

Being a graduate student has affected me strangely. Some mornings I get up, drink a cup of coffee, and immediately get to work. Other mornings, I sleep until 12 PM, go for a two hour walk, clean my house, and never once think about my thesis. (For all of you writing your dissertations, trust me, I understand that I have no right to bitch. But here we are.). It is infuriating, and I am scared every day that I won’t ever graduate or get my writing over with. My focus goes from place to place, and I never really seem to be able to grasp what I am trying to accomplish at any given point.

There are a couple of extreme measures I take to sit down and truly focus:

1. Throw my phone away. Or put it in another room. Whatever it is, I get rid of it. There are too many cool things on my phone: games, social media, good conversations, books, comics, and music. If anything is going to draw my focus away, it will be my phone.

2. Lock myself in the most boring room I can find. Honestly, this is usually some place in the library, or (no one tell my advisor) the archaeology lab in the evening. Unless there are people in the lab, in which case I hightail it away from there.

3. Never open an internet browser unless it is connected to JSTOR, some peer reviewed journal, or the thesaurus. NEVER.

4. If you take ADD medication, don’t skip that day. If you don’t take ADD medication, start taking it now.

5. Find something that relaxes you, yet keeps you productive. I have two go-tos. Incense and tea. I know, you all think I’m a useless hippie. But if your relaxing agent is saying “bro” out loud to yourself or chugging a 40 of Coors, go for it.

6. Don’t underestimate the power of taking a ten minute break. As long as you come back to what you were doing before, your mind can re-set itself, and give you a more long-term spurt of productivity.

7. Ignore your pets. This sounds cruel, but here’s how it goes in my house. I will be sitting around, playing on the computer all day. Or reading a book for fun. My cats will ignore me during this time- they will sleep or play with each other or run up and down the hallways. But the minute I bring up a Word document, they decide it’s time to get in my lap and be incredibly cute. And then I have to make the decision: do I pet them and immediately ruin my day of productivity? Or do I look into their sweet little eyes, pick them up, and throw them onto the floor? Damn them. Damn them to hell.

8. If you are having relationship problems (and I know you all are, so don’t act like this isn’t a thing) stop thinking about them for five fucking seconds. Jesus, as if you weren’t defined by more than just your pretty face and your inability to communicate with your partner.

9. Try to be excited about your work. Again, this sounds like a given, but there are times where I immediately sabotage myself because I am tired of what I am doing. Or I don’t see the point. Don’t feel bad about having those doubts, but try to remind yourself why you were drawn to the subject in the first place. How did you feel at the beginning of your project? (I know you had a schedule at the beginning of your project. How did that go……)

and

10. If you miss a day, don’t freak out. There is always tomorrow.

What are your productivity tips?

I’m Back!

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I know I am the queen of hiatuses. (Hiati? Nope, that does not sound right.) Usually it’s because of moving or traveling or just pure, unadulterated laziness. In this case, it was a delightful mixture of all three.

I’m not guaranteeing I’ll keep up with this blog all of the time. But, as I say in after all of my extended blogging breaks, I’ll try really, really hard this time. Promise. Cross my heart or whatever.

So, I guess I should let some of you old friends know changes in my life. Judson and I broke up (I know this might be a common on again/off again theme, but this was a real thing. For real. Broken up. I even took him off my About TSDC page. So, yeah, it’s official). Of course I am a little sad about it. More than a little, probably. But I am a huge denier of pent up feelings, and I push them aside with good ol’ Faulknerian alcoholism/walking/writing combinations. As someone important probably said at one point, “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself.” I find this quote complete bullshit, but I’m using it as my mantra while I try to not strangle anyone who mentions Judson’s name to me.

I am also out there, dating, again. I mean, you know who you are (and I like you lots and you know all of this already). It is incredibly fun and rewarding, and I hope that dating continues to come naturally to us. Don’t let my sarcasm, cynicism, and emotional immaturity scare you away.

My parents are fine, in case you were wondering.

Besides relationships, I am still working on this master’s thesis. And by working, I mean avoiding. I write here and there, collect artifact data until my eyes bleed, and drink coffee as if caffeine were air. I read a lot of books. So, um…that means it’s going well right?

I tell myself every day: you are not doing enough creative writing. And that’s the truth of it. I should be pouring over short stories, editing the shit out of them. I should probably even write one now and again. But after forcing myself to exercise, forcing myself to be productive at school, and trying to find a part-time job…yeah. I get tired. And start watching the fantastic television that has been made in the past year. Seriously, they are doing a great job in that realm of entertainment.

But, somehow, through all of this…stuff…I’m super happy. Go figure. Apparently I was meant for challenges. Boredom does not sit well with my mental state. I feel super positive these days; maybe due to denial of my real feelings as mentioned above? All kidding aside, something in my brain is going well. I have good friends, good family, and I really am starting to like growing older. I have a good feeling about this year. Want to see my resolutions? [Oh yeah, that’s right. I still love lists.]

1. Travel to at least two new countries. I would like for them to be in Asia or South America, but let’s get real- I just want to travel.

2. I would like to start sticking to a schedule. This is my resolution every year, but I’ve already been doing it for a month, so gods’ speed.

3. I would like to learn about new subjects completely unrelated to my field. I want to learn languages, become fluent in the basics of astrophysics, and maybe be able to talk about the economy without grimacing.

4. Learn to be comfortable doing things alone. You are 26 fucking years old. You should be able to eat at a restaurant without a make-out partner.

5. Get a dog. Heee.

6. Read more. You only got to like 25 books last year. Shame.

7. Stop worrying about your weight. Shit, you look great! [I have changed losing weight to just becoming comfortable with who I am. Seems more feminist, easier, and, honestly, I lose more weight when I’m not trying to because….*fumes*]

8. Use way more social media. Because it makes me look cool. And because my phablet is completely awesome.

9. Write, write, write, write, write….

10. Follow your intuition, gut feelings, spontaneity.

And last of all, but most importantly,

11. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failing is learning. What would happen if you accomplished everything you wanted easily and without some struggle? First of all you’d be bored. Secondly, you’d be boring as a person. You’d never learn.

I honestly think I can stick to these. They aren’t too ambitious, and if I don’t do well at them, I won’t be devastated. Anyone got some good ones they have already been sticking to? Or if you have any news feel free to comment. I miss all of yous.

On the Rebound

Hi everyone! It’s been awhile. I thought I would restart my Sunny Drug blog, mostly because I am in graduate school, should be writing my thesis, but have decided that talking about myself is more important. I would also like to try again with the Sunny Drug submissions; I had some friends who wanted to keep going, but I never posted up their lovely submissions and I feel like shit for it.

Just an update on my life. I am living in Greenville, NC, studying to become an archaeologist. I am writing my thesis on archaeological sites around the Town Creek Indian Mound, basically trying to locate them and put into place an occupation chronology. I still read too much, but not enough of what I am supposed to read. I still have goals. Cooking, writing, and losing weight are the big three (probably will be for the rest of my life), and I still have all those animals and that dude I like. Some stuff has happened in between, but, um, yeah, we won’t mention that. While life has been mostly about school, I have some awesome news.

In July, I am going to Israel! I’m heading there with my university to practice some artifact conservation at the National Museum. When I start taking pictures, I will be sure to put them up here. This is the first time I have been out of the country since my big hitchhiking trip from Greece to the Netherlands, so it is coming right at about the time I am getting United States cabin fever. If anyone is from Israel or has visited before, definitely give me some advice on cool things to do. I will be traveling all over, visiting sites, so I won’t just be in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Also, keep looking for a new start on the Sunny Drug submissions. I swear to the higher powers I will keep it up this time. Let me know if you have ideas, comments, questions. I should be skulking around; probably looking at artifacts.

The Point System

Even though I’ve just moved, I’ve been kind of down in the dumps. I miss my boyfriend, I miss my dog, I’ve gained weight, and I haven’t really been accomplishing all the things I’ve imagined for myself. I thought the time leading up to this summer would have been productive: I was exercising and eating right (for the most part), I wasn’t drinking excessively (and that cigarette above is not really a cigarette, I swear), I was reading as fast and comprehensively as I could, and I was spending more time with my friends.

Unfortunately, the health setbacks have put me into the all-or-nothing mindset- I can either be healthy or I can be thin. Of course this isn’t true. It’s just a tendency of mine to think this way when I’m anxious. By the way, it was Nutrisystem that fucked me up. Sure I lost 10 lbs in a week and a half, but I paid the damn price. And now it’s all back, pretty much.

Anyway, in an effort to make myself more productive and feel better about my interaction with the world, I am creating my own point system. Productive things I do will give me a point (or more) and unproductive things will set me back. When I reach 50 points, I will reward myself. Books, probably. We all know I’ll go buy books. Bigger accomplishments earn me more points. And these accomplishments aren’t just material productivity. I am considering anything an accomplishment that puts me in a more peaceful state of mind- anything that helps me create balance or gives me more self-confidence. I am tired of obsessing over the flaws in my physical appearance. That shit is tiring! And…wait for it….unproductive.

Boo. Yah.

Taryn’s Productivity Point System

One Point For…
Every Hour of Creative Writing
Every Hour of Exercise
Every Hour of Visual Artwork (Including Photography)
Every Book Completed
Every Day of Only 1 Hour of Television
Every New Recipe Cooked

Five Points For…
Every Finished Short Story + 1 Revision
Every Finished Visual Art Piece
Big School Project Completed
Every Day without a Negative Thought
Every Thing I Build for the House
Cultivating a Garden
Every Month I Go Without Weighing Myself
Every Dinner Party Thrown (notice the key word here- dinner)

Ten Points For…
Every Story Sent in For Contest or Publication
Every Overall A in a Class
Every Craft I sell on Etsy
Every Month I exercise every single day

Lose One Point For…

Every Day I Judge Someone Negatively
Every Day I Judge Myself Negatively

And there you have it folks…my little, personal point system. I realize that doing things like this doesn’t help everyone become productive, that it doesn’t make everyone feel good, but, in a weird way, this type of organization gives me something to strive for. In every other area of my life, I am incredibly messy and unorganized- but I love to give a little order to chaos when I’m feeling down.

If any of my friends want to participate with me, that would also be awesome! Just let me know and I can even take pictures of the things we accomplish and put them on here.

Schedule

I am starting to paint my new triplicate of the animals! I want it to look a little monster-y with bright, neon colors and their names framed around their portraits. I painted some of Fritz’s yesterday, and will post them up here as I get them done. As a little teaser, I found something online that is done in kind of the style I’m going for:

I also decided my new schedule today. I’m one of those people who doesn’t need a schedule, but when I have one I try to stick to it. Especially since I am going to try to lose weight, I need a strict eating and working out schedule because I am notorious for not eating enough to keep my metabolism going. I’m hoping the schedule will also help me complete some art and writing projects, among other things.

Here’s the schedule (shut up, bitches, I know it’s boring):

  • 6:30 AM- Running
  • 7:00 AM- Breakfast and getting ready for work
  • 9:00 AM- Work
  • 10:00 AM- Snack #1
  • 12:00 PM- Lunch
  • 2:00 PM- Snack #2
  • 3(or5)PM- Come home from work and hang out with the fandamily
  • 6:00- Cook dinner
  • 7:00- Paint or work on another art project
  • 8:00- Write
  • 9:00- Read
  • 10:00- Clean and get ready for the next day of running, arting, writing, reading, sex…I mean, sleeping.

Again, I know it’s a boring-ass schedule. But, there are a couple of writing projects I really want to focus on: the sci-fi series Jud and I are writing for adults, a series for young adults (full disclosure soon), a poetry project I’ve had in my mind for years, and a series of short stories I’ve already finished but which need to be revised. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is! But it’s about time to put in the effort because I’m sick of just sitting here without the recognition, respect, and hookers and blow that I deserve. Wow, don’t worry, I was kidding about the hookers.

And, hopefully, as my artistic confidence rises up and up and hits the ceiling, opportunities will come my way. I know that writing is what I am meant to be doing. I’ve known it since the fourth grade. And, yeah, judge this blog all you want. But I hate to break it to you: it’s a damn blog. I’m writing here like I’m talking to you, not like I want you to put me up for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Oh, and another thing: visiting the ANT department at ECU soon…hope they never read this blog.