Chickens With No Heads (or: Why I Want To Be Productive)

Recently, I’ve felt like a headless chicken on a hamster wheel. Let’s all take a second to imagine that scenario.

I know how to write block letters as fast as I can write in print or cursive. I am a bargain hunter. I make a mean veggie egg scramble. I have a welcoming personality (right?). 

I have a lot of good traits.
Productivity is not one of them.

Don’t get me wrong — I mean well. I understand the concept of time-management. It’s in the application to my real-time life that I run into problems.

To-do lists get me started, but I rarely finish one completely. I put things off just long enough to completely forget about them, only to have the assignment re-enter my brain at 11:45 p.m. the night before it’s due. I get roped in to two-hour-long conversations with my friends about feminism instead of dissecting French theatre (twist my arm). Also, Netflix.

In high school and the beginning of college, I could make it work. My scrambling efforts still managed to turn out A papers. The test was rarely hard enough to completely dupe me. I could talk my way out of a lot of things. I was confident in my ability to not only get myself into a mess of due dates, but to climb back out again.

In both children and adults, there can be a hard-to-deny link between a robust sense of hope and either work productivity or academic achievement. — Jeffrey Kluger

I’m not saying I was a good student, or that my actions were always completely moral, but it was enough to get me by.

Not anymore, friends. Not anymore.
Journalism does not function on procrastination. Nor does proper mental health.

Recently, I found the limit on my ability to climb back out of my own messes. How does one find one’s limit? By not only crossing the line, by running for miles past it. Obviously.

I’m not going to rehash all the details. Let’s just say I put off assignments for entirely too long, and the ~outside world~ isn’t available for phone interviews past midnight on a Wednesday. Adding that to a string of other personal shortcomings, it made for a rough week. Shout out to my strong, amazing sister, roommates and friends for being golden stars of support and kindness. Y’all are the best.

Moving on.

This blog post is here to commemorate a new start. It’s going to be a rocky, imperfect journey, and I know it’ll be worth it. Similar to (wonderful, wonderful) Crystal’s blog declaration about blogging more often, I am hoping y’all will keep me accountable.

Here is my plan:

  1. Do it now. When I was at camp this summer, I learned a very vital life lesson about myself: if I don’t do it now, it won’t get done. My dad has been trying to get this into my head for years and years and years.
  2. Stop trying to prioritize – you suck at it. I always manage to put fun things (reading about study abroad, blogging, naps, snacks, naps) ahead of less fun things (calling unresponsive sources, writing french papers, working out) in the name of “prioritizing.” No. Wrong. Blogging does not take precedence over assignments crucial to my GPA. Financial aid deadlines are more boring and more important than watching one (or four) more episodes of Firefly on Netflix. Reevaluate what’s truly important before you sit down to what you first thought was a priority.
  3. Remember why it matters. Being successfully productive, not just busy and bogged down, is one of the best feelings. Getting into contact with a source who you would have missed had you waited an hour can make your whole day. Finishing your paper in a normal time frame with time to sleep is not unattainable. Finding ways to be proactive in your own life and happiness is crucial in the path to contentment.

I do love the feeling of work. When gears are grinding and pieces are falling together and a story is taking shape — there isn’t anything quite like it.

Sometimes I don’t do some work because I feel like I don’t have time. I wonder how much extra time I would have if I was an actual effective, efficient adult. Let’s find out.

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Author’s note: Are you a productive adult in today’s society? Send me advice!

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One thought on “Chickens With No Heads (or: Why I Want To Be Productive)

  1. Two things: 1. Snacks should always be prioritized for optimal performance. 2. I also have a lot of trouble actually DOING the things on my to-do list. The getting started part is the hardest.

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