Productivity is a Pain in the Ass

Why do we have to do things? Why can’t I just give in to that little devil on my shoulder that wants me to drink whiskey and watch re-runs of Parts Unknown all day?

Every day, I make a checklist of what I have to do. Usually, most of those things don’t get done right away.

I go days without achieving anything, but when I get things done, I Get. Things. Done. Maybe it’s the ADHD, maybe it’s because I like to be efficient, maybe it’s because I only get a certain amount of energy per week, like some sort of terrible solar battery. For example, for one of my English classes, I’d slacked off all semester because I was depressed and couldn’t get out of bed to go to class, and as a result, I had a semester’s worth of homework to do. I banged out over a dozen papers in day, and aced all of them. I wish I could do that for everything else in my life.

I’m sure there are numerous internal factors that are responsible for my lack of productivity lately; I haven’t been to the gym in awhile, I’ve been eating like shit, and I haven’t been sleeping that much, in addition to school and work responsibilities.

Hopefully, I’ll figure it out and crush it like I always do, but there has to be a limit to how far I can push myself before everything comes crashing down.

I think those bursts of energy can be stretched out and lengthened, so I’m going to try and figure out what brings them on, and try to do that more and more, until it’s just second-nature, and that lazy demon is banished, or exorcised, or whatever you do to demons.

Heaven

You hear so many things about Heaven, there are entire religions based on getting there, but what’s up there?

For me, my totally-uninformed, hopeful take on it is this: Heaven is whatever you want it to be.

For me, Heaven is a place with unlimited resources and time, somewhere I can just creatively go crazy without any restrictions or concerns. Think about it: all of the most creative people who have ever lived, all in one place. There must be billions of songs, paintings, movies, you name it.

I get really annoyed when I have a decent idea that I can’t execute, so thinking there’s a place where all of those ideas can be fleshed out and expanded makes me feel good, and I want to be able to talk to history’s best thinkers and writers and come up with better ideas to work on.

I want to be able to bounce taglines off of David Ogilvy. I want to pitch movie ideas to Stanley Kubrick. I want Picasso to teach me how to paint. I want to learn how write more coherently from Bukowski and Hemingway. I hope all of those people are just up in Heaven, sitting at a cloudtop bar sipping drinks and swapping ideas for all eternity.

I’m not going to know what Heaven’s like for a long time, ( hopefully, although life is weird, so you never know) so I’ll just have to do my best with what I’ve been given.

The Cost of Kindness

I’ve actually got a positive Dunkin’s story today. Shocker. Usually, the people I deal with are rude, inconsiderate pricks, but every once in awhile, someone kind comes in, and reaffirms my faith in humanity.

Today, I was just relaxing listening to some juicy jams when an old guy who was the spitting image of Ben Carson walks in. After making his order, he started to make some small talk, so I figured he couldn’t be that bad.

He started asking me questions like “What do you eat here?” and “How is it working here?”, as well as asking me what my goals are, and what my parents do for a living. Turns out, this guy is cool as hell, and is one of those rare types of people who make everyone feel important, which is a type of person we desperately need more of.

We talked for almost half an hour, we found out that we’re pretty simular: we’re both left handed, we both love jazz music (he even gave me some new stuff to check out), we’re both only children, and we both like tea more than coffee.

It’s weird, usually I don’t like talking to random people, and I especially don’t like talking about my personal life, but maybe I should try to do it more, I might meet more decent people, and I might not have such a bleak outlook on humanity. After all, it doesn’t cost anything to be kind.

The Amazing Power of Music

I read an article recently about the psychological effects of music, and how it affects your mood, and it occured to me how important music really is.

I listen to a lot of really, really depressing music, and I think that it’s starting to affect how I think. Part of me, deep down, loves it. I love sitting in my room listening to “u” and drinking whiskey in the dark. Now, seeing that written down, it seems kind of fucked up.

Maybe if I listen to “Happy” a million times a day, or start my mornings with “The Dreamer”, eventually I won’t be so angry at the world. I’m going to try that; only listening to upbeat, positive music for a month or two, and see if it does anything for me.

I don’t know why sad people love sad music so much. On paper, it doesn’t sound like it should help, but it does. I’m sure there’s some music psychologist who can show me case studies and peer-reviewed papers, but I’m not a scientist, I don’t know if I’d understand all that technical jargon and obscure psychology terms.

“Music is the new religion.” I read that in a Pitchfork interview, and it makes me think. I’ve definitely learned more about being a decent, well-rounded person from music than I have from church. Jay-Z taught me that financial freedom is our only hope, and that a loss ain’t a loss, it’s a lesson. Kendrick Lamar taught me that it’s okay to be afraid, it’s okay to think you don’t deserve what you’ve been given. Mac Miller taught me that it’s okay to feel things, and it’s okay to need help. What’s Jesus taught me?

Musical Motivation: A Story of Productivity

Today was a good day, I actually finished everything I wanted to get done. Usually, I only get to two or three things on my To-Do List, and get distracted and end up doing something completely different. What changed? That’s simple: music choice and medication.

I woke up at 7:30, which wasn’t planned, but super useful because I forgot to take the trash bins out, and I’m not too fond of letting this week’s trash become next week’s partially-decomposed sludge. After rushing outside in my sweatpants, I tried to go back to sleep, because why not, it’s my day off, I deserve to get some beauty rest. I was unsuccessful. 8:30 rolls around, and my Adderall is starting to kick in, so all hopes of sleep fly out the window.

I had no idea what I wanted to do today, so I do my usual job search, typing in “marketing internships” and “content writer” into Glassdoor, and applied to every job I think I could do. Now, usually, I get about 4 pages into the suggested jobs before getting distracted. Not today. I went into a groove, which was helped by the groovy tunes I had in the background (Mississippi Mud by Black Blood & the Chocolate Pickles), and next thing I knew, I was on page 36, and had applied to more than 20 jobs.

Now, I can tell the difference between “hyper-focus productive” and “Medicated productive”, and this wasn’t either, I think this might be the start of something new for me, I might not be a slacker anymore. I hope this continues, and I hope I continue to crush this job search, because if there’s anything that I’ve learned over these last 5 years, it’s that I never want to work fast-food again, and I’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Now, this post is called “Musical Motivation” for a reason: I’ve been switching up my music choices, and I think it’s actually doing things other than broadening my sonic horizons, I think it’s actually improving my mood and how I think about things. Usually, I listen to super depressing music, which probably isn’t good for me, but it feels incredible to listen to someone who understands how you feel, and connects with that. My favorite time to listen to music is that time of night between 12am and 2am, I think there’s something about that time that brings out a different side of music, especially sad music. I think my late-night listening, mixed with sleep deprivation, has taken me off my A-game, but I think I’ve found a great replacement for it: morning music.

Now, I’m terrible at getting up in the morning, I usually sit in bed until I absolutely have to get up, or if I have to go to the bathroom, but today, I was wide awake, and had nothing better to do than get things done. I think that if I go to bed early, and wake up early, not only will I get better sleep, I’ll get better results from my job hunt, my gym time, and my relaxation time, because what could be better than completing all your To-Do’s for the day at noon?