This is the semester to put my productivity to the test.
I will have a working, App Store-ready app, produce a fully polished manuscript for my thesis, do well in all of my classes, be a great Software Engineering TA, and finish all four series I currently have going on in the blog by the end of the semester. I’ll publish a post, go on a photoshoot, read for pleasure, and eat healthily every day. Every weekend, I’m going to travel to cool places, make great memories with my friends, and not worry about work.
I will to do all of this and still get at least seven hours of sleep a night. And I’m going to do it while keeping my stress levels at a minimum.
Just reading that probably stressed you out a little, didn’t it? It certainly intimidated me when I first wrote it down. Done right, however, all of these things are completely possible. I’ll even go so far as to say that doing everything listed above will make me less stressed.
There is one crucial factor of achievement that I’ve overlooked: environment.
A plant will turn out drastically differently depending on the soil it’s growing in. Likewise, our levels of accomplishment (and whether or not we reach what we deem to be “success”) largely is the result of the environment we put ourselves in on a regular basis. Environment enables mindset, which drives quality of output.
Recently, I realized that I’ve been setting my achievement-plant in some pretty shitty soil.
A challenge was posed to me about a week ago: Could I get up at 5 AM, every single day, and start being productive right off the bat?
MY IMMEDIATE REACTION
What? No fucking way. I sometimes don’t even go to sleep until 5 AM. This “getting-up-at-freakish-hours” routine is one of those weird, dorky things that old people do.
MY SECONDARY REACTION
But I do have a full-time job, and hours aren’t flexible. I’m pretty tired when I come home from work. I don’t really have the energy in me to do stuff for the blog after I’ve been programming all day. I’ve been getting up at 6 AM to write my Morning Content Challenge articles — having that much shit done that early in the day is exhilarating. 5 AM is only one hour earlier, and let’s be real, staying out every night isn’t even that great. I should give this a try.
Dress from H&M
The sad thing about time and energy is that, even when we recognize it as invaluable, we’re unable to save it for a better situation or pile it up for when we need more. Spend a morning checking social media and suddenly you’re at lunch, wondering how the hell it got to be noon already. Spend a day putting out small fires and suddenly you’re in bed, wondering why you didn’t do a single productive thing in the last twenty-four hours. Spend a life not paying attention to what you’re doing, and suddenly you’re past your prime and having a midlife crisis because you were too busy checking social media and putting out small fires to do what you really wanted.