Some time in early 2011, I discovered Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality—a Harry Potter fanfiction in which Harry is a child genius in math and physics and psychology and probability, and he gets his Hogwarts acceptance letter and finds out magic is real, and then he vows to use Science to learn how “magic” really works—among other ambitious goals, like wanting to reveal magic to the entire world, and end death forever by making everyone immortal.
It was unlike anything I had read before, and as a casual fan of both Harry Potter and nerdy things in general, I was hooked.
Like many creative people, I struggle with getting things done. Motivating myself to actually sit down and write the next page of my novel, or work on the outline, or read the next chapter of that book I said I was going to read… Somehow, despite having all these “things” I “want” to “do,” when the moment comes, it’s always easier to keep browsing the web for just a few more
minutes hours days, or to suddenly realize I need to reorganize my entire hard drive.
This post isn’t to teach you how to overcome your own procrastination. There are countless self-help books for those things. This post is just about the strategies I’ve used over the years to track my own productivity—the successes, the failures, and everything in between.
(If you are looking for some self-help advice, I’ve read and recommend each of those articles/books linked above. They’re all great and full of great advice.)
(I don’t follow any of their advice, though, because I’m dense and stubborn and bad with change.)
Anyway, here’s a brief history of my productivity tracking methods.
Thanks for reading Uhh, Reincarnation Goddess? You Forgot to Give Me the System, my semi-satirical, semi-serious LitRPG web serial that ran for the last half-year. I hope you enjoyed it! Or, if you didn’t enjoy it (or if you didn’t even read it), then I hope you enjoy this systematic project breakdown/beatdown in which I reveal that I didn’t enjoy it.
I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I should have.
This is a blog post. I blog now, apparently.
Tomorrow I’m going to launch my first web serial: Uhh, Reincarnation Goddess? You Forgot to Give Me the System – a LitRPG isekai progression fantasy story that draws heavily on my love for the Cradle series and my desire to see more “rational fiction” that doesn’t ultimately end in disappointment.
Justice Ambrose Erkens, lying in his bed in the George Washington Memorial Hospital, struggled to keep his eyes open. The doctor was in the hallway, talking to Ambrose’s daughter Julia and her husband Lucas. Ambrose wished he could hear them. Their soft voices were barely audible over the beeps and hums of the various monitors in the room. Something the doctor said caused Julia to cover her mouth with her hand, eyes widening in—shock? Fear? Lucas took her in for a comforting embrace just as tears started to form in her eyes.
The university library was abuzz with activity—as far as any library could ever be said to be abuzz. As always, silence permeated the halls, punctuated by small scattered groups of students talking in hushed tones. The colossal collection of professional publications, educational encyclopedias, and other miscellaneous tomes was ignored by the student body at large. Instead, the library was the prime hotspot for students seeking solitude to work on independent projects, along with groups looking for a neutral ground on which to collaborate.
Cheers and applause swept the massive audience. A camera hanging from the ceiling panned over them, showcasing their delight. A man’s voice boomed over speakers. “Here it comes, from the Bob Barker Studio at CBS in Hollywood, it’s The Price is Right There!” The cheering intensified.
Monday, 3:47 AM
I should probably tell you why I started this journal. To be honest, it’s not something I would normally be doing. I’m just not a journal kind of guy. But if there was ever a time in my life when I should do such a thing, that time is now. If you’re reading this, then you already know everything I’ve done, everything I’ve been going through. I don’t need to tell you all of that again. But what I do need to tell you is why.
Monday, 7:20 PM
When I woke up this morning, it all finally hit me. Everything that didn’t affect me yesterday hit me today at full force. All the terror, all the anger, all the fear, the guilt, the sadness—every single emotion I had been trying to repress came to the surface, stronger than ever before. I can’t imagine it being possible to feel worse than I do right now. This… This is raw suffering. Undiluted, pure. There is nothing to hold it back anymore. I feel no reason to hold it back. Maybe if I just let it run its course it will stop sooner rather than later. It’s not like I have anything left to lose at this point.