I would be lying to you if I said I have no trouble being productive. I have a lot of trouble, and most of it revolves around getting started on a task. I’ve been watching YouTube videos, reading online articles, and consulting friends on what motivation feels like and how i might be able to apply it to my own life. But recently I discovered that I can’t use other people’s strategies because they’re just that: other people’s. I need to find the strategy that works for me, and I’m still searching.
There’s a song lyric from “Wanksta” by 50 Cent that has stuck with me since the beginning of college. In the second verse, 50 Cent raps: “Damn homie / In high school you was the man, homie / What the f*** happened to you?” I see a lot of myself in this quote. In high school, I worked so diligently and had no trouble starting assignments, whether they were trivial or important. After high school, however, I began having a lot more trouble being productive, and I barely made it through college, evidenced by my mediocre grades and lack of achievements. In high school, many of my teachers believed that I was the most capable person in my grade, but I feel like I’ve let them down by being unproductive and, quite frankly, lazy.
The dilemma is this: I wholeheartedly believe that success results mainly from hard work, yet I can’t seem to put in the work necessary or the work I want to get done. Maybe it’s because I’m lazy, and maybe it’s also because I want to do so many things that I become overwhelmed and do none of those things. There are so many things that interest me, and I want to find the time to do all of them. In fact, I did a rough calculation of the time I want to spend on the tasks I want to do, and I found that I need 26-hour days and zero sleep if I wanted to get everything done. Obviously this is impossible, which might be why my brain says “screw it” and tells me not to even try. I think a healthier approach is to be more realistic about my goals and prioritize them, but I want to do so much that I feel inadequate before I even start a task.
My therapist and I came to the conclusion that I adopt an “all-or-nothing” mindset—I might be a Sith because I deal in absolutes! I either have to do everything, or I do nothing. I want to embrace a healthier way of thinking that allows me to get some stuff done without feeling guilty about it. I admit that I was not successful in committing to eating out twice a week in the last blog post, but I feel more confident in the goal I’m about to set. For this week (Tuesday, May 7 - Tuesday, May 14), I will practice self-compassion and be willing to feel uncomfortable if I don’t get everything done. It seems like a vague goal, but it’s a start.