productivity – the hard ass approach

2012 Printable Calendar from e.m.papers
Rita Mae Brown Quote on work from e.m.papers 2012 Printable Calendar
Warning: this post is not for the faint of heart and those who don’t like salty language.

I don’t know about you, but from time to time I encounter days when the urge to stay in my pajamas, eat potato chips and watch old Sex and the City DVDs is so powerful that I’m almost totally helpless against it. Almost. This is when I need to get out the big guns and use the ‘Hard Ass’ approach to productivity.

I’ve mentioned Debbie Allen in a previous post, and she must be mentioned again, because the verbal ass-kicking she gives to all the young hopefuls is the attitude that comes to mind when utilizing this method.

The hard ass approach is basically just giving yourself a good kick in the pants to get to work. Nothing more, nothing less.

It is not new or revolutionary, it eschews any new-fangled ideas of ‘going at your own pace’ or ‘self care,’ and refers to the hard-scrabble wisdom of our grandparents and great grandparents, who probably had much harder lives than we did. Basically, quit yer bitchin’ and get to work!

Quotes that embody the hard-ass approach include these oldies but goodies:

“The Art of Writing is the Art of Applying the Seat of the Pants to the Seat of the Chair.”
-MARY HEATON VORSE

“Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. “
-THOMAS EDISON

“The Harder I work, The Luckier I get”
-SAMUEL GOLDWYN

“Just Do It”
-NIKE

The message here is clear. If you want success, however you define it, you have to put effort and elbow grease into it. Ask any entrepreneur who is hailed as an ‘overnight success.’

Forget any new age, magical thinking ideas about daydreaming your way to fame and fortune; roll up your sleeves and get to work, dammit.

I came across this little ditty earlier this year from Communicatrix where she so aptly captures the sentiment of this method. On days when I need to use the ol’ Hard Ass approach it helps to hum the chorus to myself repeatedly. I hope you find it as helpful as I do!

17 thoughts on “productivity – the hard ass approach

  1. You are so right. Maybe it’s time to end with the kinder gentler whining and just take care of business. Plus, love the c*cksucking boulder song.

  2. You mean the coddle-them-til-they’re-mush approach we take with kids today doesn’t work in the real world?!?! We have created a generation (or 2…3?) who need a healthy dose of Shut The F*ck Up and Sweat A Little.

    Great post!

  3. This member of the peanut gallery loves this post!

    Self-care is important. I get that. But you are absolutely right in that we tend to coddle ourselves more than necessary. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’re tired, or if you’re not feeling well – you just have to sit down and do the work, because people are counting on you (even if it’s just your mom and the other three people that read your blog).

    @Gaia – one of my favorite books ever!

  4. Discipline can be sooo tough at times, but if you like having the option to choose a day here or there to veg out to a little Sex in the City with a bag of chips, then it’s best to apply a little self directed “tough love”!

  5. Yes! I love this.

    Before I was able to recently escape cubicle nation myself, I often confused working harder with working “more.” I was tired, because I had worked all day, and I would choose the tasks which simply kept me busy.

    Now, I have the time to plan and execute! I’m not 100% productive all day, but I feel 100% more productive than I was before.

  6. Well! I am beyond honored to have my humble motivational song mentioned in the same breath as these luminaries. Thank you, sweet Eleanor. I shall now attack my work with renewed vigor. To 2/4 time.

  7. I really like the Thomas Edison quote – about opportunity being dressed up like work. If I tell my dad that I’m unhappy with how my business is going and it’s not any fun anymore and I don’t like it, he says “Why, cause it’s work?”
    While I’ve often grown tired of his “quit yer bitchin’ and get to work!” attitude, there seems to be a morsel of truth in it… :)

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