The Productivity System

I’m afraid I might have created a lot of grand expectations about the famous productivity system when it’s not that special.

What happened was that I had so much to do that I wasn’t doing anything. I stared at the huge pile of books next to my bed and read nothing. All I did was trying to decide what to do \ read \ write first. 

So I had to do something to get out of this rut. The new productivity system consists of me making a detailed list of what I need to do tomorrow (e.g. read book X to page 161, buy cabbage for borscht, grade quizzes, write 250 words of the review, etc). Then I take the schedule and stick all these tasks into specific time slots. 

Hey, it works. I started the system on Saturday and since then I have already read 2 books, written 600 words, and done an urgent and time-consuming service task. It feels like an exciting challenge to see if I can cross everything I need off the list. 

The system is nothing special but it’s shaking things up for me. 


The Eurocentric Gilgamesh

A lecture on the Epic of Gilgamesh by Prof. Kambiz GhaneaBassiri at Reed was cancelled because “student activists” declared that it was white supremacist and Eurocentric. 

So while some students are political through supporting their classmates (see previous post), others are political through hassling an Iranian prof who teaches Gilgamesh.

Kids Today

We have a system where a professor can hire a research assistant among undergrads and pay them $750 for their work during the semester. The professor can also hire additional students to work for free. When a prof needs a group of people for their lab, s/he often just randomly selects which of the students in the group will get the money.

This year, the student who won ceded their right to get paid to another student who has great financial need.

Of course, it’s a shame that we created a system where young people have to commit these feats of selflessness.

Power Corrupts

I just discovered that once you’ve been the boss, irrespective of how much you might have hated it, you can’t be anything else. 

There is this committee that I love and volunteer for every year. Working on it was always a lot of fun. And then last year I volunteered to chair it. I hated it because I’m a shitty leader of people. So this semester I went back to being a regular member. But the enjoyment is gone. Everything seems disorganized and not the way I would have set it up. 

I’ve been corrupted by power and can’t go back to being happy with doing my small share without caring about the result.