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?

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Week of June 23rd

I did put up a points update. This week, though, I’ve been visiting my grandmother in Charlottesville, VA and really didn’t do much except go to fancy dinners with my family and shop around with my mom for Israel stuff. I did a lot of reading in the car trips there and back, but still haven’t finished anything.

Also the boy and I are starting our own YA fiction series; I think we are going for a sci-fi genre. Finding the time to write creatively is going to be a struggle, especially since I am leaving the country for three weeks and he works about 90 hours a week. And once August rolls around, I will be slammed with schoolwork, projects, and just trying to survive. I think balance in life can be hard, and, speaking personally, I have a tough time knowing whether I like being busy or being lazy. When I’m lazy, I crave challenge. And when I’m incredibly busy, I crave an hour surfing the internet, watching television, or reading for fun.

It’s no secret that The Sunny Drug Corporation is sort of a description of my personality. I struggle with being happy on a regular basis, so I create goals to feel as if I am constantly achieving something. My therapist (yeah I’m admitting that) tells me that my goals are unachievable and I need to concentrate on the little goals. I think my points system is helping me do that. Instead of wanting to lose fifty pounds in like three weeks, I’m just working on exercising for an hour.

And sometimes I don’t like to admit my true goals. For example, I’d like to be classier (but with my cursing mouth I don’t know how possible that is). And I’d like to make more money. The last one I definitely don’t like to admit out loud, because it goes against my true beliefs. I don’t think we should rely on money for happiness. I don’t think money should be the ultimate indicator of success. But……being able to pay my bills and get a little something extra now and again would be great.

I’m going to find another way to make money, be classier, and honestly….just be happy.