When I say, “be productive” what do you think of?
When I say it, I think of that Thursday that I cleaned and vacuumed my whole house after work. Or when I spent quarantine writing a book I’ve had in my head for years.
What I don’t think of is this past weekend where I mostly stayed on the couch to watch Hamilton to my heart’s content.
But no matter what you think of, I’m just here to tell you that it’s okay. It’s okay to experience productivity in spurts or waves. Not everyone is the Energizer Bunny, revving up to take chores down.
And if you can’t rest until everything is taken care of, that’s okay too.
All I’m saying is it’s okay to be you, at whatever energy level feels right.
Like most of us, I have a routine when I come home from work. I get the mail, open any packages, eat dinner, and then I work on whatever the day demands, most likely this blog.
But I invariably eat before I’ve started anything else. And the reason is simple: I’m hungry. Or so I thought.
Say what you will about thinking on an empty stomach, but the real reason is because when I’m eating, it’s something I do for myself. No one else around me needs to benefit from my eating — it’s the only time of day that I can take time out for myself. I usually don’t do anything else while I eat, and I focus on the food coming into my body and nourishing me.
And so, whatever your routine may be, make sure you take some time for yourself. Whether you’re eating or watching tv or reading a book. Make sure you make time for yourself. Because no one should be able to take that away from you.
When you’re in school, you get spoon-fed knowledge while you are just sitting here. Study, take a test, repeat. Day in and day out.
But when you’re an adult you have to work for it. Look up a Wikipedia article, read, and fall down a rabbit hole of information that you have to yank yourself out of. And that’s only a couple of hours of learning.
And that’s if what you’re doing has a Wikipedia article for it. Otherwise, it’s the old tried and true method of making a mistake and learning from it next time.
I made a lot of mistakes today. I was busy, and I wasn’t slowing down. But instead of being down on it and beating myself up over it, I’ve realized that when you’re busy, and you make a mistake, it means you’re having a day of learning. Just like when you were in school. And for me, I’d do anything to feel like I was back in school.
So, don’t forget to take some time to learn while you’re busy. Because if you’re doing nothing at all, you’re not making mistakes, and you’re not learning.
What happens when a phone rings? You answer it, right?
Well, not me. I have a phone at work, and I was getting wrong number calls daily. The people on the other end were not exactly the nicest after I kept telling them to go pound sand. So, I finally asked my boss one day if I could change numbers or change desks or something to stop them from calling.
And he gave me the best advice, he said: “if you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer it.”
And suddenly, I was free. I hadn’t thought of that, to be honest. At least, I hadn’t thought it was an option for me; I was at work, I’m supposed to be available to anyone and everyone that needs me. Aren’t I?
And that’s when it hit me. In life, you don’t need to answer every call. If everyone expects you to answer every time, then they’ll start abusing that. If you respond to every emotion you have, you’ll drown.
So, don’t answer every call. Let a few a day go to voicemail. I promise they’ll be there when you’re ready to take them.
Everything is under construction. My office, the bridge I walk over to take to work, and the building I work in.
Which, in some ways, can be really inconvenient.
Like for instance, the bridge I walk over to take to work. It’ll be out for a year. So, in the meantime, I have to walk around the bridge to get to the same place, adding about 5 extra minutes to my walk.
But before you think all I do is complain, I’d like to remind you that things being under construction can be a blessing in disguise. Sometimes, it gives you a completely new way of looking at things. For example, that extra 5 minutes now gives me a little more exercise that I wouldn’t have had if that bridge had remained open.
So, when you see that caution tape appear on your way down the street, don’t be negative. Instead, think of what fresh perspective you could be having by walking by it.
And if you’re also like me and feel like your whole life is under construction, just remember: you’re the engineer and despite delays and setbacks, you will finish this project.
This is your friendly reminder…to be friendly.
Yes, everyone out there is fighting a hard battle, and blah blah blah. But that’s not the most important reason to be nice to other people. Actually, why do you need a reason? This should be your default mode.
And you can come and tell me that you had a hard day, and life isn’t going the way you expect it to, and it was one time, but I’m going to reply: you had a choice. You always have a choice.
And don’t misunderstand me. When I say nice, I’m not referring to a doormat. I’m saying kind, generous, and friendly. Even when it’s hard to. Even when you’d rather not. Even when it’s not important.
Be a friend as often as possible. Because we all depend on each other.
Do you know what real irony is?
When you grow up as a budding theater major, who had little to no problem getting up in front of her closest peers and reciting Shakespeare, and winning competitions, no less…
And then having to get up in front of a small group of people to give a work presentation and basically going out wicked witch of the west style into a melted puddle of embarrassment…
What is the deal? Where do I get my adult card punched so that I can get up in front of people and speak? Why is it so different from making a PowerPoint to baring my soul through literature?
I wish this was easier and I didn’t care so much. But if I didn’t care, what would be the point at all?
My definition of irony is acting apathetic when it actually means the world to you. So don’t be afraid to go down swinging. Just giving it everything you have will yield your best results, even if you could care less.
I showed up to my train station this morning only to find out that there were no trains scheduled to run due to a power outage.
And from that moment on, today has been a day of cancellations. Cancelled meetings, cancelled lunches, cancelled cancels.
And so, because today is a Monday, I’m just going to go ahead and say today is cancelled.
Which, as an adult with a full time list of responsibilities, cancelling can mean that one day can do you a world of good. Just unload your plate so you can push yourself away from the table sometimes. Take a deep breath and smell the roses.
So today is cancelled. We’ll try again tomorrow.
Whether or not you actually believe in them, I think it is still worthy to write down things that you want to do this year. Even if you abandon them by February, at least you have a goal.
1. Write more
2. Lose weight
3. Learn a language
4. Be more assertive
5. Be more grateful
What are yours?
People always say that others are fighting hard battles and you should be kind to everyone you meet, even if they’re rude.
And I think that’s correct. But I think it could use some editing. Everyone’s facing a hard battle every day and everyone is just trying to get home safely.
We’re all just trying to get through our day so that we can go home and see our loved ones or spend time with people we enjoy.
So if you’re commute is a terror, remember that everyone is trying to get home safely. If someone is particularly rude, they probably would just rather be at home. And if you forget that everyone is fighting a hard battle, at least try to remember that they’d like to get home safely to pet their cats and dogs, to eat the food they bought, and sit on the couches and be comfortable.
Everyone, at the end of the day, just wants to be comfortable.