How to be a productive worker

Listening to: Demi Lovato – Something That We’re Not

The past week has probably been my least productive week that I can recall. The factors in place were 1) an overwhelming number of things to do for work, 2) working from home, 3) apathy about work, 4) overly secure in regards to my work evaluations and 5) miserable about personal life.

Each time I did one little thing, like write a sentence, I’d then sit and think about my life for the next two minutes (minimum). Or I’d just take a break from it all, promising to fully concentrate on work after the mid-day hiatus. I’d take the break (or several) but I’d never do what I promised myself I’d do afterwards.

I know there’s some sort of program for this somewhere out there, but electronically, I need to

– block any attempts to access gmail, facebook, twitter or celebrity gossip sites

– have a really good playlist that is at all moments, exciting enough to keep me entertained, mellow enough to not distract me and make me want to jump around, lyrically  indistinguishable enough so that choice phrases don’t cause me to sit and reflect on my life, and still … good, relatively refreshing, yet not so new that I’d want to start searching out new artists.

– block any attempts to access Instagram, Snapchat, ThoughtCatalog and even BBC News on my smartphone (reading the news is when I get desperately listless)

Emotionally I wish there were a way for me to

– block any thoughts of a certain someone, all the hypothetical scenarios that run through my brain, the good ones and the bad ones, all the excuses and rationalizations I create for myself, all the questions and self-doubt

– block the feeling that comes after a small sense of accomplishment, the feeling where I think whatever I accomplished is meaningless compared to the pressures of everything else I have not yet tackled. Somehow instead of fueling my work productivity, each time I do something I feel like my need to work comes to a grinding halt

– focus on the task at hand and not constantly question whether I’m using all of my free time for something I am going to regret one day

I guess I’ll take a shower and when I come back I’ll REALLY do this thing I was supposed to do.

Image
No idea where I got this but I just found this on my work computer
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Let’s settle this

WAIT. PLAY THIS FIRST

Several people call me a hipster, which I always ADAMANTLY DENY.

I AM NOT A HIPSTER.

If anything, I’m actually way, way more yuppie.

Per http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/28-signs-youre-a-hipster/

1. You get mad when people post videos or articles about played-out trends on your Facebook wall, because people might actually think you still think things like the Harlem Shake are cool.
I HAVE NO IDEA what the Harlem Shake is! I see it all the time on FB and I have NO IDEA. I do know that there is a decent band called The Harlem Shakes but I highly doubt that has anything to do with it. In any case, lately I find out about trends via FB so doesn’t that make me non-hipster?!

2. You often find yourself resisting the overwhelming temptation to say “their older albums were better” when people ask you if you’ve heard a cool new song.
Point

3. You judge people for driving.
I LOVE MY CAR. I freaking drive twenty minutes to Palo Alto to go running.

4. When you read articles about things like gentrification, you get a little knot in your stomach because you know, on some level, it’s referring to you and your friends.
I don’t have time to read the news but I do like gentrification

5. That still isn’t going to discourage you from moving to Harlem and/or Bushwick.
I would NEVER live in New York.

6. The most exciting thing that’s happened to you in recent memory is a Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods opening up in your neighborhood, and you kind of don’t care how many row houses were evicted and demolished to put it up.
I hate Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s foods spoil too fast. But I do like gentrification.

7. Several of your friends are bartenders at hole-in-the-wall bars, and at least one of them frequently says things along the lines of “Beer is the new wine.”
Beer is beer. Wine is wine. I order beer when I don’t feel like drinking so I can let it just sit there and no one really cares. I order wine if I’m in Napa/Sonoma.

8. You know what a barista jam is, and have possibly been to one/dated someone who went to one.
No. My first thought was “edible jam? Jam made by baristas?”

9. You get pissed at your local coffee shop for not knowing what a “flat white” is.
No.

10. You have gotten so into cycling that the majority of your disposable income now goes into buying new gear for your longer rides and parts for your bike.
I hate cyclists. They are blocking the path of my car.

11. There is rarely a dinner conversation that goes by where you don’t mention the fact that your city does not have nearly enough combinations for cyclists, and how frustrated you are with the city council’s inactivity on the subject.
See above.

12. You actively choose to wear glasses that you know don’t flatter your face just because they’re big and obnoxious.
I think my glasses are an appropriate size.

13. If you’re a women, you wear crowns of flowers with your outfits as though that is somehow a thing normal human beings do.
Maybe if I were at Coachella, but no.

14. You get really into things like wine and tea even though you don’t really care about them, simply because you want to know a lot about it and be “the wine guy,” or “the tea guy.”
I love barley tea but I think that just makes me Asian.

15. You live in an awesome apartment that your parents pay for even though you have a job yourself, because using your own means to pay for it would mean downgrading.
I PAY FOR MY SHIT FUCKERS, and my room is an embarrassment I would never bring anyone home to.

16. You are a part-time DJ.
I suppose in my dreams.

17. You constantly refer to bars and restaurants as being “too pedestrian” or “too full of tourists,” even if they are not at all a tourist spot.
Not in those words.

18. You have an iPhone, yet can’t afford basic groceries.
Nope. No time to decide on a smart phone. Life is simpler without one.

19. You constantly bum cigarettes off of people while out drinking yet claim that you “don’t smoke.”
SAY NO TO DRUGS (THAT KILL)

20. You feel the need to reiterate how much you would not eat the junk food or fast food that someone else is eating while they’re eating it.
Rude. But I may do it? I don’t remember it

21. You own a pair of pastel Doc Martens.
I don’t even know what those are. And shouldn’t it be Converses?

22. You participate in Movember year-round.
I don’t know what this is. Is this all NY-hipster stuff?

23. Your profile pictures look like they were shot and art directed by Terry Richardson.
No.

24. You own at least one coffee table book with vaguely pornographic art/photographs.
I don’t even own a coffee table and if I had a coffee table book, it would be this

25. No matter what is going in life, no matter what you’re facing, you always magically have money for drugs.
Well, if I had connections, sure

26. You talk about how much you hate American Apparel, yet all your clothes look like they came from there.
My clothes are from BR, bitches

27. At least one your profile pictures is you smiling with a bunch of impoverished children in Africa/South America/Southeast Asia.
I generally vacation in areas that make me feel rich

28. You try to re-thrift your thrift shop clothes, and are rejected because they fall below Goodwill standards.
I am not stepping into a thrift store

VERDICT: NOT HIPSTER.

My traveling ritual

Listening to: Otto Knows vs. Coldplay vs. One Republic – Million Voices (Thomas Gold mashup)

I think one of the greatest differences between my mom and myself is that we have completely different approaches to vacationing. She loves, or maybe doesn’t love but can’t help, to spend hours and hours trying to research and will book everything months in advance. For international trips, she’ll bring down the suitcase about a week early and start filling it, constantly rechecking things she already knows she has packed. She’ll spend the hour before leaving panicking about whether she did this or that, and then she’ll continue to panic all the way up to the airport.

Maybe I started out like that back in the day. But somewhere along the way, I think I either went on too many vacations or had too many near misses that didn’t end in catastrophe, to the point that now I barely prepare anything and I’m constantly finding myself, five hours before a flight, trying to yelp places and draw little maps on scraps of paper, doing my laundry as my duffel bag sits empty with a stack of barely enough clothes folded off to the side.

So far, I feel like my vacations have worked out.

This seems to be the typical vacationing pattern I have fallen into:

Months in advance: Have destination in mind. I’ll think to myself, “THIS TIME. This time I am going to plan far in advance and not have to worry about anything last minute! This time I won’t stress about not planning for months on end. This time I will be better.”

Preceding months: Every morning I will think to myself “OK TODAY IS THE DAY. I am going to go to a cafe and RESEARCH. I am going to make a list of all the places I want to visit and see and experience!” Then I will go about my day and find better, more important things to do. Such as, reading the entire series of Animorphs. Eating dinner with friends. Going to the gym. Wasting time on the internet. I’ll go to the library and check out guidebooks on the destination, which are left untouched on the floor of my room for weeks. I occasionally stuff it in my backpack in the morning, with the intent of going through it after work. After a few days I’ll dump it out of my backpack, as it’s starting to weigh me down unnecessarily. Two weeks later, I’ll renew the unread book. Another two weeks later, I’ll renew it again.

One month in advance: Every morning, my initial thought will transition into “OMFG Today HAS to be the day. I CANNOT continue to let this vacation go unplanned. I NEED TO BUY MY TICKETS. And book my hotel / reserve airbnb / send requests out to CS hosts! I don’t even care what I do today, I am NOT going to bed until I PLAN SOMETHING.” And then. I will stay awake super late into the night, but more because I’m delaying planning until I just can’t take it anymore and fall asleep.

Three weeks in advance: I’ll buy the plane ticket. By this time I have long ago returned the guidebook I had borrowed from the library. Now I have to reborrow the book.
Or I’ll cancel my vacation plans, if the prices have significantly risen and I am too cheap to buy the ticket because I can remember how cheap they were months ago. In these cases I’ll think to myself, NEVER AGAIN.

Two weeks in advance: I’ll start waking up every morning with a panic attack. Sometimes I feel like I never truly fall asleep because I spend the whole night half awake thinking about the things I haven’t done yet. Somehow, this constant sense of urgency does not actually inspire me to do anything about my stress problems.

One week in advance: I’ll half heartedly start to yelp things for ten minutes before I decide the world is too overwhelmingly large to narrow down. I’ll send out CS requests or look into other housing situations. At least I’ll do that much

Three days in advance: I’ll actually start researching. I think to myself, this wasn’t so bad. I should have probably done this a while ago, so I could have gotten a better night’s sleep for the past two weeks

One day in advance: I’ll REALLY start to research.

Twelve hours in advance: Instead of packing or getting the final touches to vacationing ready, I decide it’s suddenly very imperative that I clean my room top to bottom, so that when I return it will be to a nice, clean room

Eight hours in advance: I decide to go to the kitchen and clear out all the food that has been going bad in the fridge. I think to myself, I need to stop buying so many groceries that I never eat. Either that, or stop eating out so I will actually eat the groceries I buy.

Seven hours in advance: Since most of my vacations involve me, walking alone somewhere or taking some form of transportation in solitude, I decide more important than packing, or researching, or finalizing any plans, is to ensure that my ipod has the best music possible. This entails a two hour search for new music, downloading of all the songs I have been listening to, and clearing out and reorganizing my itunes. All the while, despite a muffled nagging voice that says you REALLY need to do some more productive things, my mind will respond “this is crucial to my vacation happiness. Music is the most important thing!!! If I end up walking around aimlessly in a city, lost, at least I’ll have my precious music!”

Five hours in advance: I’ll realize that I don’t have enough clothes to pack. I decide to do laundry. Perfect. Now I have more reason to stay up and continue my research into the wee hours of the morning.

Four hours, fifty minutes in advance: Screw research. I’ve decided to blog

Four hours in advance: I manage to stay awake long enough to put my clothes into the dryer. Rather than research, I decide this is the perfect time to take a nap

Three hours in advance: Frantic packing.

Two hours in advance: I decide that I have quite a bit of time before I have to get to the airport and everything is going to work out just fine

Ninety minutes in advance: I am on my way to the airport and I keep thinking every red light will be the reason I miss my flight. WHY did I wait so long to get to the airport?!?! NEVER AGAIN!!!

One hour in advance: Depending on the airport, at LAX I am only more convinced that I am going to miss my flight. At SJC I rush into the airport and then realize … oh … there’s like five people in the security line. I amble about. Sit in the boarding area. Decide that next time, I am going to have to leave for the airport even later.

As you can guess, I am at the blogging stage of this cycle. Which means my unplanned nap should be coming up soon. Clothes are in the dryer, check.

Horrible realizations about my young twenties life

Listening to: Mates of State – Sleep the Clock Around

1. There are some (ok, many) nights where I literally go to work, drive home, and spend the entire night in bed. This includes eating dinner in bed

2. HOURS can be spent simply cycling through the same five websites

3. I now really think I’m going to die single and unloved because I’ve gotten to the point where I think coordinating dating is too much stress on myself

4. Some days I eat healthy. Many days, I only eat meat and bread.

5. I’ve decided to call blending foods in my Vitamix “cooking”

6. When I walk into my room after being gone for several days, I realize that it’s resembles more of a storage closet than a homey place of living

7. My body no longer aches from over exercise, but from lack of movement over an extended period of time

8. I like my job. I’m pretty sure a year ago I told myself that I would NEVER EVER like my job. I can’t tell if I was just crazy last year or have settled this year

9. Generally, my greatest acts of charity are when I let someone into my lane in major traffic. There’s no time for me to do actual charitable work

10. My bank account has become stagnant (see post below)

11. I used to exercise three times a day. I still do. Except now that exercise is 1) walking to my car from my room 2) walking from the car to my client 3) repeat in reverse

12. When I lose things I don’t make any effort to find them because I know it will be in the following places: my room, my car, or my work backpack. It’s not like it could be lost in some club or anything.

13. I no longer know where to download music that I find

SEGUE. I love these songs. And I think I’ve finally broken out of my drawn out dance phase
Oh Land – White Nights
Good Old War – Calling Me Names
Lykke Li – Until We Bleed
Architecture in Helsinki – Contact High
Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill

omg I just turned to the first page of my book and the quote is

Everything is unique, nothing happens more than once in a life-time. The physical pleasure which a certain woman gave you at a certain moment, the exquisite dish which you ate on a certain day – you will never meet either again. Nothing is repeated, and everything is unparalleled.

– The Goncourt Brothers

Well then.

Quickie Update

I imagine most people reading this would want to know about my first week of work at a client. But all week, I’ve never really had anything happen to me that I really wanted to blog about, plus I’m super tired, plus I should be getting ready to go to Chicago, plus I’m still kind of shaken from yet another near death experience from driving on the freeway. I am often in disbelief that I am such a terrible and careless driver. I used to be able to recall all the mistakes I ever made while driving because they would emotionally scar me, but now there are just too many to keep track of.

My first day of work on Monday went from 9am to 11pm. So that was a joy. I woke up the next morning very unhappy with life. But onwards. At least I was kept super busy, so I didn’t actually mind going home so late. As my friends have told me, it’s actually far more stressful to not have assigned work. I found that out on Friday when I kept emailing everyone saying “OMG I HAVE NOTHING TO DO I don’t know what I should do!” I think if you have a salaried job and you’re doing nothing and you feel okay about it, there is something wrong with your company.

I really like my team but I don’t feel like I made much of an impression on them. I’m pretty sure they all think I’m anorexic because I only brought fruit for my meals, even though they told me to pack lunch and dinner. I told them that I don’t cook and I can survive on an apple, pear and grapes for a 14 hour day, but they looked very concerned when I got something stuck in my throat and started coughing. I’m pretty sure they thought their newest  team member was about to keel over and die from lack of nutrition.

Tuesday was easier and I left at 7:30. Then Wednesday and Thursday at 5 pm! Wednesday I was SO set on going to Planet Granite and signing up for a gym membership but instead I found myself napping on the ground. I DID go on Thursday so YAY! I only accomplished one course so that was disappointing. Then I tried running on the treadmill and had to really push myself to run FREAKING ONE MILE. I was so pissed about that. I haven’t run on a treadmill in FOREVER, the last time was probably several weeks before I graduated in December, because I started to run at Edwards Stadium instead. Egh. I went out to the parking lot but as I was reversing, I thought to myself “HELL NO I’m not leaving this gym having only run one mile and accomplished one course.” So I reparked and went back in to do the elliptical for 30 minutes. Still a disappointing workout, but I guess I can’t really blame my body for being weak after never working out for a month.

I went back to the rock climbing gym today in the morning and did much better on the courses. I have no idea why, but I ALWAYS think “omg there will be so many people at the gym on a weekend morning because no one has to work!” And I’ll rush over in a panic, thinking I’ll have to brave the crowds. Then I get there and there’s no one working out. Because obviously people have lives and go out on Fridays and sleep in on Saturday mornings. Why am I such a loser?

Oh god. My brother just asked me what we will be doing for a family vacation this year. As if we go on annual family vacations. I haven’t gone on a family vacation ever since I started having friends with spending money. UGH. I am going to have to waste my PTO for some vacation where my emotions will range between annoyed, super annoyed, and indifferent. Wonderful. Listening to my coworkers talk, I realized that if/when I start dating something, I will not only have to split my vacation time between friends and family, I’d have to split it with THEIR friends and family too. I imagine that I would be the type of person to say “you are either going with me to visit my friends or you can spend the holidays alone.” Resulting in my spending the rest of my life alone.

omg I just reread that and realized I wrote “dating something.” I’m leaving that in there as evidence that I am too tired to be writing a blog entry.

What can I say about work? Hmm. Well. It’s what I expected it to be. There’s not much to say about it yet. And I wouldn’t want to say anything on my blog that could get me into trouble.

Tomorrow I’m off to Chicago for training until Wednesday. I don’t think it will be as fun as it sounds. Victoria says the food there will be really good, but we’re not in downtown Chicago so I don’t think we’ll be able to see anything interesting. At least I’ve already been in downtown Chicago so I won’t feel that sad if we end up doing nothing.

I have a three week old watermelon that I have still not eaten. And I bought a 10lb bag of potatoes before realizing that I won’t be eating at home for an entire week.

Me: what am I going to do with all my potatoes?! This is like ten meals!
Laura: wait, does a potato weigh a pound? I don’t think there are ten potatoes in this bag…
Me: WHAT? Let me check the serving size … HOLY FUCK THERE ARE TWENTY EIGHT POTATOES IN THIS BAG. What am I going to do with TWENTY EIGHT POTATOES?!

When I break apart all the facets of my life, my life seems pretty good. I see friends (namely, Laura) basically 80% of the week. I’ve been able to go back to Berkeley fairly frequently. I love where I live and I really like the people I live with. My first team is laid back and cool and not dysfunctional. I’m not eating as much and I just joined a gym that has all the things I like (except an open track and a swimming pool). My commute goes opposite of traffic, and my client is ridiculously close to where I live so I can leave for work five minutes before I need to get there. But something still makes me feel a little unhappy. Something is off. I think I just need to find something I love about the South Bay.