This year I’m going about productivity in an all-new way.

Here’s my usual way:

  1. Every night before bed I write out my to-do list for the next day.
  2. I fall asleep thinking of all the ways I will accomplish my upcoming tasks. Side note: this is a very tedious and boring way to fall asleep.
  3. I wake up and sit like a turd on the couch, drooling and zoning as I occasionally think of all the things on my to-do list that need to be done, but aren’t getting done.
  4. Hours later, I have Facebooked, Instagrammed, watched something on Netflix, watched something else on Netflix, sat like a turd some more, and usually gotten sucked into some YouTube videos or the like.
  5. At some point I stumble into the bathroom, and when I’m done I look in the mirror, grunt at myself, and note that I am being a sorry sack of sludge. Then it’s back to the couch.
  6. I look over at the clock and realize what time it is. Really?! That’s my thought almost every single day.
  7. I look below the clock where I keep my ADD meds, and realize I haven’t taken my daily dosage yet.
  8. An hour later I finally get off the couch and go take an Adderall.
  9. After I do six other meaningless things before I finally do take that Adderall.
  10. Half an hour later, it kicks in, my brain levels out, and I get hyper-productive. I start slashing things off my to-do list with wild abandon. I do twelve hours of tasks in 17 minutes, and then I do even more than I had originally planned.
  11. I skip and whistle my way into the bathroom at some point, look in the mirror, wink at myself, and call myself Superman.

Things do get done. Eventually. Things pretty much always get done. But I don’t’ always have a lot of time for much of anything else. And since this year I want to have time for other meaningful things in my life (Guitar lessons? Teaching myself programming? Actually cooking something that doesn’t come with a wrapper?), it means I need to not waste so many hours sitting like a congealed blob of leftover oatmeal for half the day.

So here is my NEW way of doing things:

  1. Every night before bed I write out my NOT-to-do list for the next day. Yes, you heard me. My NOT-to-do list.
  2. I fall asleep thinking of happy thoughts filled with fantasies of money suddenly raining from the sky or of Hagrid suddenly knocking on my door asking me if I wanna go grab ales together. Hagrid and I would be best friends in real life, just so you know.
  3. I wake up and I DON’T do the things on my NOT-TO-DO list. Things on this list might include: sitting like congealed oatmeal, forgetting to immediately take my Adderall, getting on Facebook or Instagram, turning on Netflix, or eating granola bars for breakfast. Other NOT-to-do items on my list might include not procrastinating something specific I’ve been wanting or needing to do, not blowing unnecessary money, not harboring certain negative or pessimistic thoughts that I sometimes struggle with, not feeling sorry for myself, etc. etc. Oh, and not being so devilishly sexy. I mean, really. It’s not fair to everyone else. Please note sarcasm. I can’t get a date to save my life. Oh, wait. I can’t harbor thoughts like that. It’s on my not-to-do list today. I am devilishly sexy!
  4. As I don’t do all the other things, I will then jump into my to-do list for the day. This will always include additional items which make me healthier in every way. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, socially. Gotta hit all the areas.
  5. When those are all done, I will skip and whistle my way to my sofa, where I’ll plop down, breathe in a deep and mighty breath, and acknowledge to anyone listening-in (hey, you never know if creepers are watching me through the windows) that I AM THE CHAMPION OF THE DAY!
  6. I’ll pull out my phone and make sure I check off everything that I didn’t Then I’ll point at the cracks in my blinds, just in case some creeper is watching, and I’ll flex my muscles, and I’ll emphatically shout “that’s right! I owned the day!”
  7. Then I’ll flip the bird at the crack in the blinds. Just in case.
  8. And I’ll watch something on Netflix.

I’ve been doing this since January 1st. It’s a system I really like. I have gotten so much done and have already found new things to add into my life every day. I’m already feeling more positive and hopeful about the future than I have in a long time. I’m going to bed at night feeling accomplished and excited for the next day. I’d really recommend it.

Side note: I’m still waiting for Hagrid to show up, but maybe hoping will never make it happen. I’ve gotta get out and find that giant best-friend-to-be. After all, hope without action is just fluff.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 1.4 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!