How to Kill (or brutally maim) Your Problems and Reclaim Your Productivity

Your life has just imploded. All hell has broken loose. Or maybe you’re just moving, or its Christmas — or both at the same time! Either way, you’re getting jack all done, and your stomach/brain/small intestine has decided its time to burst into flame as means of punishment for your slothful, selfish ways. How dare you.

Quite simply, things happen. Things that will sap your energy, steal your free time and quiet hours, and snicker at you while you attempt to get work done anyway. But you can beat them.

With my fool-proof three-step system for only three easy payments of $19.95

By kicking their asses.

Know Your Enemy
First, acknowledge you have a problem. Something is screwing with your workload, and you are not writing (or Insert Work Here!) as much as you should be. Understand what’s screwing with you, what’s really screwing with you. It may be the visiting relatives, but it may also be the (self-imposed) pressure to make everything perfect while they’re visiting. Or it may be that you’re lazy. Don’t worry, that happens to me a lot.

Embrace It
You know what’s holding you back; now accept it. You are incredibly sick and cannot stay awake/upright. Or you are a lazy, slothful, sorry sack of a writer (you can come sit by me!) Whatever the obstacle, accept it and you won’t wind up wasting even more time on excuses. It may not be the fact that you are moving, but that you need to learn to partition your thoughts into Crap To Do For The Move/Writing Joyous Writing, and ne’er the two shall bump into each other in a dark hallway, bungle things up, and stumble out with bits of each others’ dinners all over their clothes.

Now Crush that Motherf*cker to Death
You’ve got your arms around it. There’s no escape. Squeeze the life out of the bastard until it stops twitching and wheezing. When it turns a faint purplish hue and the eyes bulge, that’s usually a good sign to stop.

This is the part of the process they call Problem Solving. Usually it means implementing a practical solution while wearing great big household-cleaning-products smile the whole time. I prefer to think of it as the part where you leap out of the shadows with a tire iron and bludgeon your problem to death. Is it the lack of help around the house? Bludgeon! Is it an excessive work load? Eviscerate the lesser tasks!

But the problem, just as often, may not be that you are busy and can’t get your work done. The actual problem may be the stress or guilt springing from your lowered productivity. You are ill? You just damn well have to rest or your work will continue to suck for twice as long. You are packing and moving and cleaning and unpacking? It’s only a few days and then you can work your ass off again when things settle. It’s not the situation that’s the problem; it’s the emotion that’s screwing with your work. Accept the situation, embrace the fact that you’re your own worst enemy, and the rip to pulpy shreds the guilt you’re throwing on yourself.

And, of course, if said guilt and shame flies at you from some other source, by all means, rip that person to pulpy shreds instead. And enjoy it. You deserve it. And they do too.

Keelhaul? Garrote? Bamboo torture? How do you murder your problems?