This is not for you: Productivity and Chronic Illness

This was originally posted on my Medium profile on February 7th, 2017.


I read a lot of articles on productivity and improving one’s creativity and making life better. How to do better, be better, accomplish more, feel satisfied with my life, not feel like such a fucking failure all the time. I read these articles because productivity and discipline are things I struggle with and I want to see if there’s anything out there that can give me a leg up in reaching my goals.

About 90% of them are explicitly not for me.

I struggle with discipline, but I’m also chronically ill. I have trouble being productive because I’m a procrastinator, but I’m also disabled. I struggle with gratitude because I haven’t developed a habit of it, but I also suffer from severe mental illness.

There are very few articles out there about productivity that write with any of these things in mind. Almost all of them talk about “willpower” and “making time” and “a morning routine is essential” and “you need to practice gratefulness” and “breakfast WILL give you energy!”

Willpower? Willpower means nothing when I sleep through the 10 alarms I set; it’s not about using my strength of will to not hit the snooze button, it’s about salvaging my wreckage of a day because my body refused to wake up, refused to even hear the alarms until it got 12 hours. Articles that write about “having the willpower to get up earlier” are telling me nothing new; they’re just telling me something useless, something I’ve heard time and time again that does nothing to help me with my issues.

Continue reading This is not for you: Productivity and Chronic Illness

Every day, in every way…

I feel as if I’m simultaneously taking on too much and not enough at the same time. It’s an odd sensation.

On the one hand, I’ve been incredibly productive since the year began. On the other, I’ve noticed my tendency to get distracted is in full swing. Often I need to hit a point that’s just below overwhelm to actually accomplish things; if I have too little to do, I procrastinate, and if I have too much, I escape from the stress by doing anything except what I’m supposed to.

I cleared up some necessary things in the first few days of the year, striking them off my to-do list. Right now I’m looking at trying to finish cleaning my house so I can go visit my mom in Powell River. Yes, it needs to be spotless before I leave. Is it? Not remotely.

I worked as hard as I could yesterday doing this, as well as several other necessary things. (For example, writing every day — while a pleasure for me — is a necessary item. I view it as something I may not skip out on. Thus, I sat down to start a story and maybe write 750 words yesterday, and ended up penning just over 3,000. This morning I finished the story with another 1,144. It’s fantastic that I’m going so far over my word count goal, putting me far ahead of my current YTD goal for both Get Your Words Out and Inking It Out, but I need to reel it in a bit — if I expend too much of my momentum in one day, I often think to myself I can skip the next day. The point is to build up a steady habit of writing, not continue in the cycle of boom and bust.)

I think I’m just way too tired, physically, today. When I woke up this morning I could barely make it to the kitchen to get the coffee I so obviously needed. And my body did that thing it likes to do, again, where I went to bed at 10 pm so it woke me up at 3am for no particular reason. Luckily I was able to fall asleep again, but I slept in — instead of waking up at 5:30, I woke up at 6:45.

So I’m working on cleaning as fast as I can, but trying not to overtax myself. I’m having a big breakfast and moving as my back allows. I still have hopes of leaving by noon, which will put me at my mom’s place sometime in the early evening, depending on the ferry.

Here’s to continuing productivity, even if I would have rather stayed in bed a bit longer. Every day in every way, I chip away at my undisciplined self, reaching the productive adult I know lies somewhere within. Deep, deep within.