You Can’t Be Super-Fucking-Productive Every Day

Last night, I didn’t have a good jog.

I was exhausted; my poor wife has bronchitis again — 2nd time this month — and I’ve been running around making the meals, doing the dishes, and taking care of her.

I haven’t been sleeping well, or eating well. I’m tired, tense, and irritable. And last night, I simply couldn’t be super fucking productive. Even if I wanted to.

Sometimes, you just can’t.

And that’s OK.

You’re Not a Machine

If you read enough of those “The 10 Things Successful People Do” and “5 Morning Routines of Billionaires” articles, you might begin to suspect — like me — you have to be fucking on it, all the time.

Every day. No excuses.

Well, that’s just not how it fucking works.

There are some days where Elon Musk just doesn’t want to get out of bed. Maybe it’s because he’s depressed, exhausted, or just sad. It could be all three. He’s a regular guy, like you and me.

Iconic entrepreneur Tim Ferris has admitted he regularly has bouts of loneliness, depression, and extreme laziness. Ivan Orkin, one of the most famous ramen chefs in all of Japan (even cooler that he’s a white jewish man from New York) described the months he could hardly get out of bed as he grieved for his late wife.

Look, Gary Vaynerchuck and Arianna Huffington and Tony Robbins don’t sleep in humidity-controlled saunas that adapt to their breathing patterns as they sleep so when they wake up at 4:30am to sketch a picture of the morning sunrise for creative inspiration or whatever, they’re more awake than ever.

They can’t be super-fucking-productive every day. No one can.

Take a Break

After my jog last night, I was going to write more, ponder Stoicism by reading more of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, eat a healthy dinner, maybe journal about my day, and unwind by watching a wholesome documentary about cooking or something.

Did that happen?

Nope.

Instead, I went to an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ buffet (by myself), binged on 2 hours of Netflix, ate candy and sugar and sweets, closed all my writing tabs, and went to bed super late.

That’s what I needed yesterday.

I’m not a machine — sometimes, I need those days. Weeks. Months, even. When I first got to South Korea with my wife to teach English for a year, I didn’t do shit for like, 2 months straight. I couldn’t. I was too overwhelmed. I just ate and drank and slept.

Trying to be super-fucking-productive every day will lead to burnout. Always.

There are things that people call “impossible,” but then there are things that are impossible. Trying to be super-fucking-productive every day is one of them.

And that’s how it should be.

This principle is true in every other area. You can’t perpetually bench 200 lbs over and over without stopping. You can’t hold your breath underwater forever. You can’t be in constant love-sick honeymoon-phase sunshine with your partner.

Even if you tried, it would just sour the experience.

We can develop long-term, life-altering fundamental changes to our life that we carry for the rest of our lives. And that’s to be encouraged.

But like growing muscles, or enlarging lung capacity, or even developing your ability to love someone more, there are ebbs and flows.

There always will be— you will never “arrive.” Your body and mind are always deteriorating — this is how nature works.

We rust, we tire, we rest.

Trying to “keep going no matter what” is a recipe for failure and discouragement.

It’s OK to take a break.

You don’t have to feel bad if you’re not super-fucking-productive every damn day.

-Anthony

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This short checklist covers how I got my dream job in less than 11 months.



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