How My Superheroes Failed Me

I greatly admire full-time bloggers and online entrepreneurs. I always imagine them to be highly productive people that sit at their computers easily for hours every day and accomplish weeks worth of work in a single go. So imagine my surprise when one of my superheroes, Tim Ferris, recently published this article: “Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive and Crazy (Like Me)”  In it he provides us with a glimpse of the rather un-glamorous aspects of his life: like us mere mortals, he also has mornings where he just doesn’t want to face the day ahead.
One of the quotes that really stuck our at me was this:

“Most “superheroes” are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things DESPITE lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk.”

This was me for an entire weekend. No cartoons for me though, I watch grown-up stuff. ;)

This was me for an entire weekend. No cartoons for me though, I watch grown-up stuff. ;)

Woah!  A few weeks ago, I let myself become completely addicted to TV. That’s why I’ve been absent on this site for a little while: I was completely consumed by the events in the lives of fictional people (anyone else a fan of the ex-addict that goes around New York solving crimes with his sober companion?) I was highly unproductive, and I felt bad about it, especially after talking about how unfulfilling a meaningless life is.

So instead of getting on with life and serving as many people as possible, I went to work on myself. I berated myself, read productivity books, then berated myself for berating myself, etc. I tried to fix the negative self-talk and unproductiveness, all in between episodes of Breakout Kings and Beauty & the Beast (I think Netflix may be sorting alphabetically…)
And I ignored my coaching business. Because I didn’t feel like a true coach, not when I couldn’t even get myself to press pause on a flickering screen. How was I supposed to help others figure out their dream life plan when I wasn’t doing anything about my own? I was so sure that all the “real coaches” out there, the ones that I look up to, NEVER do what I was doing. So I asked around. My friend Vincent Nguyen of SelfStairway summed it up pretty nicely:

My awesome friend Vincent Nguyen

My awesome friend Vincent Nguyen

“Hell yeah! … Anyone who says they’re 100% productive is a dirty liar. For example… I’m in the Philippines working with a new company and I’ve spent all day playing games, watching tv, and listening to music. And shopping! :P I find that productivity is a lot of “how am I feeling right now” along with a constant struggle to maintain a certain level of motivation.”

And he’s right. We’re all human. Even your role models and mentors have days they don’t want to get out of bed. But what makes them so great, as Tim Ferris said, is that they go out and do it anyway. Yes, they may take 3 days to just hide under the covers and watch other people do cool sh** on TV, but then on the fourth day they explode out of bed, guns a-blazing and really knock everyone’s socks off. (I’ve never actually seen anyone’s socks being knocked off, have you?).

For me, most of my post-couch-marathon energy went into the toughest 2 weeks we’ve had this year at my day job. I also used the momentum to finally represent myself as a lifestyle consultant in the real world, not just online. Up until now I’d been keeping my online site a secret (I thought people would point at me and laugh if I told them what I’m creating, but no one’s done that…yet) My first networking event was a big deal for me, as a natural introvert, talking to strangers uses a lot of energy, but I’m proud to say I didn’t sneak off early or stand in a corner nursing my drink – I met some really cool people and am looking forward to catching up with them again soon. (If you’re one of them, get in touch!)

Sometimes the brain needs some triviality to recharge

Sometimes the brain needs some triviality to recharge

So if you need to take a break, do so. Sometimes the brain needs a little triviality to give it time to process and re-charge. Don’t do what I did, and beat yourself up about not being 100% productive all the time, it really doesn’t help. And as you’ve just found out, you’re not the only one. It’s totally normal to need time off, and once you’re fully restored, you’ll be sending everyone’s socks all the way to the moon!

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In an effort to wean myself away from the TV screen and into real life again, I am holding an open coaching Q&A in the comments. Tell me about anything that you’re struggling with at the moment and I will give my best shot at helping you out. The topic doesn’t matter, I’ll give it 110% regardless! (I’ve coached people on fitness, the Paleo lifestyle, career choice, business marketing, relationships, and my specialty: creating your dream life.) So tell me: What are you struggling with most at the moment? How can I help?

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4 Responses to How My Superheroes Failed Me

  1. Vincent says:

    Thanks for the mention, Annika! Don’t worry too much about occasional productivity slumps. They happen.

    You should be worried if you’re like that 24/7. Just be careful you’re not on the couch all day for a week straight. :)

    • Annika S says:

      haha, yep, I think that’s definitely something to watch out for. But I found that after 13 hours I actually couldn’t stand the thought of more TV, I was itching to get something productive done! :) It’s all up & down, and I’ve decided to embrace my slumps when they happen – they’re a necessary part of the productive process.

      • Vincent says:

        What works for me is to switch up where I work from. Home, Starbucks, and a collaborative workspace were my three main points that I switched back and forth from. Guess which one was the least productive?

  2. Tom Grbich says:

    Congratulations for being human Annika. We can do (as some will) – make a big thing of this or… we can rejoice in being human. The issue is NOT that you “lost yourself” in television for a period – it is that you didn’t STAY there! Good for you.

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