The Weeds, Productivity, and Joy In the Face of the Insurmountable 

Common in the lexicon of restaurant slang is the phrase “in the weeds.” It simply means you are overwhelmed and behind a few steps and cannot catch up. The trick to getting out of the weeds is a three step process. 

1. Realize you are in the weeds. Sometimes our vision is so narrow we cannot recognize that we are falling behind or in need of help. Be aware. Be present. 

2. Ask for help. 

3. Know what to delegate. If table 5 needs ranch and 7 needs napkins and 10 needs chip refills and 4 is waiting for you to take their order there is a definite hierarchy of need. Delegate the least important tasks to those willing to help you and take care of the tasks that matter yourself. It’s more important you spend the time taking your tables order than it is that you personally grab table 5 that third ramekin of ranch. 
Yes- this is a metaphor. 


Today was the single most productive day I have had since the semester began. I wrote two essays, folded clothes, read 70 pages of various readings, met with a department head, attended office hours, and ate dinner. 

I still didn’t finish everything I was supposed to. At a certain point, you stop absorbing the words. 


Despite it all, in the face of this temporary low, and the lows are less frequent and less despairing now, I can feel joy again. I’ve remembered how to climb. 

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