Productivity Defined

I’ve been very productive this holiday weekend, and I want to share how productive I’ve been because I took a week off recently and I was so anti-productive that week that I anti-productived myself into depression.

Well, to be fair, I was probably already depressed. Not diagnosed, of course, because getting myself to a person who could diagnose such a thing is not a thing I’ve managed to do thus far. But yes. I am struggling with a depressed mood. That much is certain.

At any rate! Here is a list of my recent productivity:


  • not actually productive

Thursday (aka Thanksgiving)

  • washed the dishes in the morning because they hadn’t been washed for several days
  • made lunch (but I don’t remember what)
  • emptied the drainer
  • washed the dishes again because I didn’t want DH to have to wash the dishes before making Thanksgiving dinner
  • ate Thanksgiving dinner
  • emptied the drainer
  • washed the dishes again because I was thankful that DH made Thanksgiving dinner and I didn’t need to do anything to help prepare the food

This list of how many times I washed the dishes is of note for several reasons. I shall list them:

  • There are only four of us in the house, and eight large plates and eight small plates and however many cups we have and the miscellany of pans we own usually last us a couple of days
  • I have two children of dish-washing age and often I don’t need to wash the dishes for a whole week
  • DH is able to work from home, and he also has a tendency to do dishes as soon as he gets home if he is working outside of the home, and he also usually gets home before me, so even if the kids aren’t doing dishes, DH is

What I’m getting at is that at most, I wash dishes once a week most of the time. To wash them three times in one day is literally unheard of.


  • JY found small worms encased in webs on a pair of leggings, which was gross as heck, and I peeled them off the leggings without squicking out
  • I discovered the worms were probably Indian Meal Moth larvae, and were probably attracted to the great amount of pet food stored in JY’s bedroom
  • I opened the box of OXO containers I’ve had under a table for a couple of months, and washed them
    • You have to remove the lids of these containers, then break the lids down into three pieces, then wash the three pieces
    • And because I don’t have enough drainer space, you have to wait for them to dry pretty much all day
    • So essentially, I just washed the lids
  • I took the vacuum and JY upstairs and we did a heavy-duty vacuum session which involved:
    • Examining every item of clothing or stuffed animal that sat in the same area as the pants for additional larvae
    • Moving the “safe” items
    • Vacuuming
    • Replacing the “safe” items
    • Repeating the process for the rest of the room
  • I helped JY clean one of the guinea pig cages
  • We stored the food off the ground


  • I did laundry all day
  • I picked up a couple more Advent gifts
    • I’m putting together Advent gifts for my kids instead of a calendar, which involves a new bag (which at some point will be the previous day’s bag because the kids aren’t going to keep the bags) every morning with an Advent gift
    • The gifts will range from favored beverages, snacks, small gifts, a little bit of cash, etc.
  • I washed the container portion of the OXO containers
  • I watched a movie with JY which we both thoroughly enjoyed and laughed through and watched all of (which is a big deal because JY usually has a hard time sitting through a whole movie)
  • A Thing happened and it’s upsetting but not entirely surprising, and we dealt with it


  • I did the grocery shopping before 10:30 am
  • I assembled the now-dry OXO containers
  • I vacuumed the first floor, the second floor hallway, bathroom, and master bedroom
  • I transferred all the critter food to OXO containers of appropriate size, and am now confident that if we get any more Indian Meal Moth larvae, our critter food will not be contaminated (or at least it will be contaminated more slowly, or restricted to the one container)
  • In response to Saturday’s Thing, I started cleaning a bookshelf, and I managed to sort through two shelves and one top of shelf
  • I paid a ticket that was not mine, but was my responsibility
  • I made headway on ordering EY’s class ring
  • I cleaned the guinea pig bedding
  • I paid the bills

To Summarize

I kicked ass this long holiday weekend. I didn’t do everything right (Saturday’s Thing was a direct result of my inaction in several areas of our family’s life), but I have to celebrate these wins because otherwise I’m going to fall back into the dark emotional emotionless* thing that happened when I was having that lovely week off of work between my car accident and my flat tire.

Okay. That’s it! If you have wins to celebrate, I want to hear about them. They don’t have to be about productivity. They don’t have to be about health or wellness. They don’t have to be anything. Just something that feels like a win to you.


*I typed “emotional emotionless” on purpose, and maybe you recognize it, but if you don’t, it’s not a typo. Just sayin’.

The end of a streak?

I’m giving up on NaNo for the year. Part of the reason is a bad one. One of my children resents how much time I spend on the event, and on writing. I know this isn’t a reason to quit. Logically, it is important that my child feels resentful, but it is something I need to talk about with them, not give up something that had once brought me great joy.

The other part is what I just said, if you caught it.

I no longer get joy from the NaNo challenge.

I am resentful of the stress I impose on myself to complete the event.

I am resentful of the frustration I feel when I can’t come up with a satisfying idea within the constraints of the event.

Like, seriously — I put entirely too much stress on myself for this, for what? 50,000 words that I might not finish or publish? An incomplete story that I got to 50K and discarded? A pile of lost printouts and screwed up stats on a website?

I’m done.


And I say “probably” because it is very, very possible that I will change my mind and whip out a story of 50K in the next six days (I’m counting today, the 25th). I say that because I’ve done it before.

But I don’t want to. Right now, I want to focus on Christmas, and the Advent Calendar idea I have for the kids. I want to focus on things that actually bring me joy right now, even if none of those things are “productive” (ie: meeting that weird measurement of what I think other people think I should be doing).

Maybe you’re wondering why i’m making such a big deal out of this. That’s a really good question. Because it’s been part of my identity since 2003? Because I spent 9 years being a regional leader for the event? Because it’s how I met my best friends and it feels like I’m giving up on them if I give up on NaNo?

Because I’m stupid and I make stupid decisions and I can’t do anything right? (I know that’s not it, but that’s what the negative self-talk is telling me.)

That’s it. I’m going to go back to not thinking about the end of a 17 year streak.

By which I mean, probably, that I’ll be able to think of nothing else.

Thus, this blog post.