A messy, pretentious productivity post in which I cite Hemingway

I’m at the lake and I’ve been inside the whole time trying to figure out how to mix a podcast. It’s messy and hard and frustrating and I don’t sleep well or really do anything each day other than try to figure out how to use audacity software.

Like anything, this will get easier with time. But right now I’m most definitely in the dip.

So I’m sitting here trying to think of something interesting to write. But instead I feel brain dead. That’s what happens when you wake up at 7 am and stare at a computer screen until 3:30 pm. I’m waiting for my dad to get home so we can go fishing.

Here are some tips on getting energy back that have worked for me in the past and hopefully work for me now.

Take a break but only when you know what you will do next. I actually stole this idea from Earnest Hemingway:

You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1064844-when-i-am-working-on-a-book-or-a-story*

*Also of note about this blog. I hate citation formatting; I have hated it ever since law school when I tried to do correct citations to make the law review. If you want correct citation formats go somewhere else. Looking at you, Bryan.

If you have to go back to the work, and you are brain dead, do something that completely removes your mind from the project. In law school, I would play basketball for a couple hours. Today I’m going to go fishing before hitting the podcast again tonight. A good tv show or movie can suffice. I just started watching Watchmen.

I’ve also learned that I work much, much better in the morning. So I’d rather work at 5 am than at 10 pm.

This would be a very subpar post except I worked in Hemingway.

A spark of an idea

This post will be sort of nonsensical.

I have lots of ideas. Everyone has lots of ideas. Ideas come in our brains; ideas fly out of our brains. For example, I have two substacks that I started and abandoned.

The internet is just a big notebook.

The most interesting ideas, though, are the ones that burrow into your brain. The ones that won’t go away. This morning I woke up and involuntarily started thinking about an idea I have been gnawing on.

We all have ideas.

But it’s the idea that sticks around that are most interesting. I have the ability to take an idea and play with it, to do mental gymnastics with it for awhile. I’ve actually learned to not turn on this power very often because it is so distracting.

I have a specific example. In 2013, I was running a business. I happened to take a vacation to the beach with my family. And I started working on another idea that was so dumb. Here it is:

Omg terrible business idea alert

Discovery Hound was going to be a low cost e-discovery tool for lawyers. What a waste of a beach vacation.

What’s the point? Ideas come and go. Watch for the ones that aren’t fleeting.

Focus and slack

Oh man, my first productivity post. This could be a big rabbit hole.

I’m curious how others use slack productively. It’s a great tool, better than email in my opinion. But I am connected to it too much.

So I just tried something new. I am pausing notifications for a time period (30 minutes as a test). I’m not sure how this works, but presumably I won’t get any notifications of messages for 30 minutes. That would be a nice feature.

All these tools that connect us…they connect us too much. Could you imagine someone sitting next to you at your desk randomly asking you questions all day? That’s obviously not what is happening with slack — but I have started using it that way.

So I am going to try and use time blocks to get work done and then turn slack back on.