Archive for July, 2008

30 July 2008

The End of Productivity

Get things done. Be productive. Stop procrastinating. Get a handle on this ADD. Work, work, work.

I make lists and then don’t use them. I forget things if I don’t write them down. I’ve read books, watched tutorials, downloaded software, signed up for website services only never to use them consistently. Why?

What is it that I can’t get it together and love the 40+ hour work week? Could the root of this issue simply be that I procrastinate on things that I simply don’t want to do? So why is it that I continually strive to put myself into a mode that I’m clearly not cut out for?

Over at Zen Habits, a guest post from Clay Collins really nails it:

The direct route to productivity is being passionate about what you do. This observation, however, is largely an academic point that doesn’t do much to help the problem. Very few people hear that passion will make them productive and then-out of a dedication to productivity-immediately proceed to follow their dreams and become more productive. So, instead of talking about how passion will make you more productive, I’d like to re-frame the conversation by saying this: unwanted tasks are the the #1 cause of your productivity problems.

If you only did things you wanted to do, you’d probably be the most productive person in the world.

This is something that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately. I have all this guilt wrapped around productivity (or rather, the lack there of). When I get into a “zone”, not only do I get a lot done and very well, I’m happy. It’s not that I don’t like work. I love to create things. I like work. But it must be work that I have some connection too. For example, right now, instead of doing an audit of how a particular feature works on a specific website (what I’m supposed to be doing) I’m writing in this blog. Which one am I more interested in, I wonder?

Well, I’m trying something new. Living my day, moment by moment and analyzing what I am doing and why. Making conscious choices. Many people have things they’ve “got to do”. Well, why is that? “Because I don’t have a choice.” is something I often hear. I hear this from myself as well. We all have choices. And those choices have consequences. So is the statement not, “because I don’t have a choice” but  rather “because I don’t want to live with the consequences?” Or “because I’m afraid of the consequences if I don’t do X?”

So I’m challenging myself. And I’m challenging you. Do everything intentionally. Make choices. Live in the moment of that choice, don’t walk down the street sipping on your coffee talking on your phone and thinking about yet another thing. What are your surroundings like? Who is it that I’m talking too? What are they saying? How does that coffee taste? Pay attention to your life. Make your best effort to enjoy experience. Because no one really knows what happens when it’s over.

17 July 2008

Being present.

Happy and in a good mood for no reason today. It’s been a rough few weeks.

Now that my mom seems to be doing much better and I am no longer in a constant fight or flight reflex, things are returning to “normal.” I haven’t been meditating recently. I haven’t been getting any exercise. And I have only been taking my St. John’s Wort (my depression medication of choice) only haphazzardly. And by normal I mean a general state of uneasiness, sadness and depression that I have been living through for the last several years when I don’t do these things.

I have been at my current job for over a year now. The polish has worn off and I’m on the look out again. I’m deeply dissatisfied here. And it’s not the place. The place is the same as when I first started. I work for a bank and when I got the job I needed stability. I had been freelancing and my income was irratic. Just shy of two months after I started, my father died. A couple of months after that my mom became very ill. The bank provided all that financial stability that I needed. I was fortunate enough to be in a place that moves so slow that they can allow their employees to work remotely and take large amounts of time off. And now that I’m not distracted by the passing of one parent and the illness of another, my attention is being attuned that it’s just not a good fit. I need somewhere that moves faster. I need something more creative…

No, I don’t know what I need.

And that’s the problem. One of my favorite quotes is from Joseph Cambell to “Follow your bliss”. To do that thing that makes you absolutely happy and that the universe will shape it’s way around you to support you in that endeavor. The crux of it is that I don’t really know what my bliss is. What does it look like?

Today I’m not negative. I’m not blaming the bank, or the people, or the projects for my problems. My work is here and will continue to be until I find out what that thing that I need to do is. I have a cushy job, really. And when I do realize that thing and figure out how to do it, I’ll move on. I do have an interesting possibility for something else – more on that later if it comes to fruition.

I have the most wonderful partner that I could imagine to go on this journey with. I have great friends. I live in a beautiful and liberal place. For today, I’m good.


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