“You are never as terrible as your hungover Saturday night Facebook photos make you look. And, just the same, you’re not as radiant as those pictures you took in church the next day.”
I do not remember who shared this adage with me. I’m not religious, so it certainly wasn’t at church. Regardless, I’d like to crip it up a bit for some introspection as we head into the weekend. This is first draft, so let me know if you can think of something better, but I’m going to go with:
“You’re never as terrible as your worst hospital photos make you look and you’re not as radiant as your rare no/low symptom days make you feel.”
Today, and yes I’m writing this day of, is a middling day. We’re slated to get ten centimeters of snow—around about four inches—today. It’s not picture perfect snow, this isn’t Hallmark movies-quality snow, this is the 7-Eleven slushie equivalent of the white stuff. The fact that it’s only snowing now, in Saskatchewan, IN JANUARY, is a comment on climate change as much as anything else, but realistically it just makes me a very sore human. My knees, as I’ve said many times, are like weather stations and they are not happy. If you took a photo of me today, I don’t think you would describe me as chipper.
Still, I’ve gotten my work done and am almost at the point where I can rest. But that’s not exactly what I want to talk about.
Productivity expert Garry Keller has a book/methodology called The One Thing. Essentially, his thinking is that if you focus on the one thing that you really need to do to move the needle, and you do that day, after day, after day, then all those days—like compound interest, add up.
Through the lens of cripping productivity, though, complicates this idea—which, admittedly, I’m being a little reductionist about because I haven’t finished the book. Still, the one thing is all well and good if it’s finishing your school work, or filing that article, or driving that semi from point A to point B. However, I can’t help but feel like—in the midst of an ongoing pandemic with an American election in November—that the prevailing one thing for many disabled people would be just to survive.
And that’s fine! That’s good! But it doesn’t leave a lot of space for comfort. Staying alive is a prerequisite for comfort, I realize, but it’s hellish when it becomes the be-all and end-all. So, why the Facebook photo analogy? Well, we often plan for our best days as disabled people, we dream about them, even the most fervent of anti-hustle culture people I know still fantasize occasionally about what a good day is. If you’re new to the disability world, particularly if you gained this identity later in life, you might be dreaming of a cure. And, despite what disability Twitter will tell you, we have to leave space for that too. It’s okay to not want whatever is actively barricading you away from your wants and needs. We all have those days, or weeks, or months, or years.
And so, when you’re thinking about productivity, when you’re thinking about the one thing that will move the needle, try to do it with grace for yourself. Not every day will be a no symptom day, but not every day will be the worst you’ve ever felt. The mushy middle is where the most fertile ground is.
Oh, and it helps if you do, in fact, stay off of Facebook.
I've decided to shift CRPL to a 5 times a week newsletter about productivity as I am fascinated by the topic, am in the early stage of writing a book about it, and want to have a place to think, and write, and create work about this vital area of thinking. Click below to join the daily newsletter and/or to help financially support this project.