2. Productivity and Showing Up

March 11th 2020, Wednesday

Dear Blog,

I woke up feeling exhausted. There were a few reasons. First, I drank coffee around 4 pm the day before because I just couldn’t stay awake for the class that I was taking. The teacher really knows his stuff. He asks meaningful questions, though I could benefit more by simply reading and pondering those questions alone rather than listening to him because his monotone delivery and the whole class participation thing just make the efficiency of the class not as ideal as it could be. I suppose I also drank coffee because I knew I have some group work that I need to accomplish that night, and I was afraid that without coffee I would not have the will do it,

New Objective: drink only one cup of coffee per day.

I usually experience a dip in my energy level after 6 hours of consuming coffee, which is normal because that is how coffee works.

You don’t create more energy with coffee. You are simply borrowing energy from later of the day.

With similar logic, if you procrastinate and do not do what you intend to do today, you are just stealing time from your tomorrow.

“I think the best way to measure productivity is to ask yourself a very simple question at the end of every day: Did I get done what I intended to?

Chris Bailey. “The Productivity Project.”

I think another problem that I have been feeling particularly out of it these days is that I don’t really set out my intentions for the day. I mostly just respond to the demand of the day. For example, if I have a class on Organization and Supply Chain today, (which I do, it starts in 5 hours) I would do the reading a few hours before, not the night before. I almost always schedule tasks close to their deadlines. I suppose I am more similar to Vance than I thought. The only difference is that he is smarter than I am. He knows exactly what to look at when time is limited whereas I want to be perfect and get frustrated whenever I get stuck even just for a little bit. Focus on the big picture. (I need to stop obsessing with him. Next time when he enters your mind, gently observe the thoughts, watch them go by, and focus on your breath. You are attracted to the idea of him, not the actual person.)

The point is, set out intentions on what you intend to do the night before, not the day of. Also keep in mind that when you are scheduling your tasks:

“The more time, energy, and attention you invest in your most significant tasks, the more you accomplish in the same amount of time, and the more productive you become.”

Chris Bailey. “The Productivity Project.”

In other words, time is not the only thing that matters for productivity. Your energy and attention matter too. That’s why I am writing this blog almost immediately after I wake up because I would have more energy and attention. I consider blogging to be a very significant task because I believe by structuring my words carefully, I could reshape my thoughts. If I can reshape my thoughts, I can reshape my reality.

I was also very angry at myself yesterday during class, partly because I didn’t see Vance, who probably skipped it because he is smart and knows how to study on his own which made me quite jealous. The class was boring. I could have done it at home and just learn as much if not more but I simply don’t have the guts to do it, because the need to appear to be a good student is so ingrained in my DNA that I found it hard to deviate from the norm, which is funny because I am deviating from the norm. Of all the students in the class, I am the only one with an artsy background. People always ask me, why are you here in a business school? Why can’t you just stay doing films in New York? And every time when I tried to explain, I found that I couldn’t quite convince myself. The simple rationale is, I want to create something on my own instead of working in the entertainment industry. My plan is to earn money with a day job and do my own things at my own time. And I would like to stay in Germany, It seems that going to a business school here is a good idea for that. But I have also found that the moment I started to phrase it like this, I lose the drive to study, because school is just a way to get a job, and a job is just a way for me to financially support myself, just so I can do what matters to me. This sounds very complicated and a recipe for unhappiness, which is also why I decided to do blogging every day.

Document. Don’t create.

— Gary Vaynerchuk

I felt creatively blocked for all these years because I put so much pressure on creating good fictional art when I don’t even have a life of my own yet. Perhaps if I just shift my focus I could offer more to the world and to myself by simply showing up and do the work. Document my life. To write about the things that I have been through, reflected in a meaningful way. Perhaps there is some value in that.

After staying at school until 8 pm last night I used a lime scooter to go to Französische Straße station at the U-Bahn in the rain. It is only in a moment like this that I get a tiny bit depressed in Berlin when it just keeps on raining for weeks when I have to walk in the rain back to my place alone. But I found solace in the fact that a new episode of Better Call Saul would be released on Netflix. I am getting tired of the show but I still need to watch it because it offers some good character moments, and I enjoy Jimmy as a character, but the plot is simply too slow for me.

Cooked dinner for one again. Planned to do some work after dinner but was so exhausted so I went to bed. Note to self: so soup for dinner. If you consume liquid before you go to sleep, the need to pee will wake you up before a deep sleep cycle is completed, which interrupts the precious recovering time that your brain needs to function properly. Remember what we said earlier about productivity? It’s never just about time. If you save time by sleeping less but your attention and energy suffered, your productivity would suffer as well.

Note to self: sleep for at least 6 hours, never less. Do not celebrate the virtue of having little sleep.

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