How to be productive all day?
June 10, 2009 2:35 PM Subscribe
How do I become the kind of person who can be productive all day?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (25 answers total) 130 users marked this as a favorite
This is kind of a question about stamina, kind of a question about motivation, and a little bit of a question about self-esteem.
I have this vision of how I want to behave, and in that vision I am up early in the morning and go-go-going (with reasonable breaks) all day long, getting things done. In this vision, I get enough done that, ultimately, everything I want works out. My activity level, in this vision, is not insanely high--all I imagine is 8 or so hours a day of solid work, which I think is enough to get amazing things done if managed well.
In reality, I have a really hard time go-go-going for more than an hour or two a day, and sometimes there are streaks of days where even that is a challenge. I am currently unemployed (deliberately at first, but these days I'm looking), but even back when I had a job I was like this. I always had the kind of jobs where, if you were efficient, you could easily do two or three hours of work a day and still get more than enough done. Since I am not working right now, it seems even more absurd to me that I'm not filling my days by getting good things done--and I do have things to fill my day, but I won't list specific tasks in order to preserve anonymity. I don't think it's that pertinent, anyway--just assume a combination of light physical things and mental things, with a dash of the artistic.
I do have streaks of high productivity, but it tends to taper off after a month, and one of the reasons I have a hard time getting started again is often "well, in a month I'm just going to fail again anyway." Other reasons include things like low energy and self-doubt, but those two vary a lot, while my low productivity doesn't vary half as much. I sometimes suspect that if I could just get over this idea that it's pointless to pound away at trying to be solidly productive again, I'd be better off. I have developed a deep skepticism for anything that smacks of a "plan" to get myself together more, but at the same time: Where else do you start?
What I truly want is to hear from people who have gone from the state I describe myself as being in to the state in my vision, where you get a lot done. How did you do it? What changed? My biggest question is probably whether it is possible to change; my brain tells me it is, but my emotions are not at all convinced.
However, I'd also love advice from anybody who happens to naturally be the kind of person I describe--someone who doesn't just show up for work, but who works, solidly, for more than five or six hours a day, and gets good work done. What do you think makes you able to do that? If you found yourself in the state in which I describe myself, where you're just not able to sustain effort, what would you do to correct it?
I don't necessarily want health tips, unless you're someone who has gone from one state to the other as a direct result of changes in health. Drink more water? Eat less sugar? Exercise? Get my thyroid tested? Sleep well? Gotcha, thanks. For some of those, managing to get going in the first place is key, anyway, and in my experience even when I have all of those things managed, I still struggle.