Getting Shit Done: The art of feeling good about doing nothing, faster.
introduction: the myth of productivity
what is productivity? when you hear the stats on npr, ‘u. s. productivity down .6 percent’, what the fuck does that mean? how exactly does one measure productivity to the hundredth of a percentile? imagine your boss standing behind you with a stopwatch. ‘what the fuck, fran? can you hit the start button sooner? you coulda had the fax number ready, you coulda skipped the cover page, you coulda put the coffee down for three seconds. there’s a kid in india who wants your job and is willing to work for a third of what you make. i heard about these americans making bank in india as dialect coaches. anyway, so, you wanna get some dinner after work, fran? i know this place downtown, makes a great curry… i thought maybe…’
what is productivity? it’s a measure of how productive we are being. what is being productive? according to the corporate definition of being productive, it’s doing whatever you’re being paid to do, better and faster. and the productivity rate, much like cancer or the population, is always expected to rise. but how? we’re at war, so we’ve got to keep bringing home the benjamins. well, i guess we have the benjamins already, but we have to send them out so we can bring them back, triumphantly, kind of like our ‘private benjamins’ overseas. but so anyway, we, the united states, can no longer grow food cheaper, make cars cheaper, answer dsl questions cheaper. we don’t have the oil, we don’t have the trees (well, not anymore), and we don’t have the four year olds who can sew. we worked our asses off for a couple centuries, and now we’ve reached our maximum productivity level in all these areas. what is our now the main export of the united states? cultural and intellectual capital. what’s this mean for america? we’re at war. IT’S NOW OUR JOB to create cultural and intellectual capital. let me reiterate: it’s now our job to write book after book repeating the principles of buddhism and its application in dating, judaism, addiction, rage, and soap (because sitting and meditating for an hour would annoy the fuck out of us and we’d prefer to read about it). it’s OUR JOB to print postcards of barbie dolls in compromising positions, to choreograph new dance routines for celebrities on reality shows, to grow medical marijuana so certain musicians can write and record songs about smoking the blunt and certain comedians can think of funny shit to perform on stage (which they couldn’t think of without drugs because standardized tests dulled their imagination and blocked their unconscious minds). it’s also our job to write blogs about what we ate after breakfast but before lunch and our job to tell the world how it made us feel. our job to write plays about precarious priests and movies about gay cowboys. our job to think up new ways to feel old and look young and write magazine articles about it. our job to re-invent holidays that sell greeting cards and guilt and enough chocolate to drown the emotions triggered by people celebrating (un)said holidays. and it’s our job to produce more and more technically complicated yet intellectually and textually simple porn every day. and it’s also our job to criticize our job but only inside ivory towers.
we must. but again, why? it is OUR SOMBER BURDEN to create the intellectual property that will drive the u. s. economy in order to pay the interest on our international loans in order to honor our monetary agreements which drive the world economy so that we all have jobs so we can earn a living so we can buy gas so we can drive so we can get to work so we can pay for the doctors who scrape out our arteries and tuck our tummies so we can eat more shit but still marry someone who will buy us ipods, lipstick, bottled water, haagendasz, organic micro greens, hoodia, DVDs, hybrid SUVs, plasma TVs, big macs, guns, winter coats, OFFICE SUPPLIES, books on meditation, and if we’re lucky (or unlucky) we can have kids to buy stuff for, and all of these NEEDS CREATE EVENTS in our lives, which makes us feel VERY PRODUCTIVE!
What is at the heart of Getting Shit Done?
Getting Shit Done is ‘the art of feeling worse about doing nothing, faster.’ It’s a whole life-strategy of collecting in front of you every task, every obligation, every to-do, to-buy, to-eat, to-fix, every phone call, email, and letter you want to write, every career possibility, every brilliant scheme or invention (you could invent the next shoehorn!), every thought on activities you’d like to do with your children (or future children), and every wish and aspiration for each level of your life IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE a ZEN-LIKE PARALYSIS of the bodymind that, nurtured and indulged deeply to its conclusion, will lead to a profound acceptance of death and a wicked fucking buzz.
Let’s get started!