do you have any suggestions/ routines for getting shit done? trying to increase my productivity and you seem to really have it down.
I mean, I pretty much get by on being as busy as possible because if there’s any time for me to procrastinate I will. But I do have a couple tricks I use instead of actually developing real self-control:
- To do lists. I carry around a notebook everywhere. It is exclusively for to-do lists, which I write and rewrite and cross off things on and draw arrows all over and put deadlines next to. I’ve tried keeping it electronically (google calendar has a checklist function) but honestly?nothing beats writing it all down in blue ink.
- Though this kind of bleeds into another point, which is, Put everything on your calendar/list. Everything. Dumb stuff, like “shower” or “text mom about next weekend”. Important stuff, like “pay utilities” and “write essay.” Don’t expect it to be pretty, or in a specific order, the point is to free up time and brainspace so you can do those things. And it’s easier when you make a habit of putting everything down, and the little successes can spur you into the big ones.
- Get out of bed, and get dressed. Geography and routine have a real effect on your brain, and while doing the thing curled up in your bed, or in your pajamas at the kitchen table, sounds really nice, it’s not the best way to be productive. Wear real clothes, go to the library or a coffee shop; you’ll get more done that way.
- If at all possible, get away from the computer. Unless your to-do list has “base jump from kilimanjaro” or “scuba with whalefish” on it, there is nothing in your life as interesting as the internet. If you want to get stuff done, leave the laptop closed, turn off your data, unplug the router, whatever. I’ve drafted emails on notebook paper because I didn’t trust myself to get it done once I actually opened my email.
- Know thyself. For example, I compulsively have to begin and finish an entire project in one sitting. Anything that can’t be accomplished that way—like long fics, cleaning the apartment, or dissertations—I have to reformulate in my head until it’s a string of smaller assignments. Like sports, work is 95% psychological, and understanding how you come at it is understanding how you’re going to play your best game.
I’ve done setting the mood, I’ve done carrot-and-stick type stuff (the fastest I ever wrote a paper was when I refused to eat until it was finished) but really it comes down to having a plan and just goddamn sticking to it. Refusing to let yourself get sidetracked by netflix, or messages from friends, or your own disinterest.
The hardest part is overcoming that initial inertia—after that, so long as you stick to your plan you should be fine.