How to have a Productive Day

So, after drawing inspiration from my writer friend Ayesha, I have a brand-new resolution: no internet, no looking at my phone first thing in the morning. No reading or responding to emails. I will get up, go to my study and write. Or I’ll sit on the couch and write. It’s much more comfortable, isn’t it? I’ll write until about ten, before eating breakfast. Then I’ll make the bed, clean, etc. Oh, exercise. I forgot. My friend Fred exercises for fifteen minutes every morning, he says. You can see how toned he is. I want to emulate him. So yeah, exercise, then write. I’ll be so productive. Yippee!

I’m awake now. Okay, I have to look at my phone. How else will I know what time it is? For all I know, it’s 3:30 a.m. and I could get some extra winks of sleep. It’s hard to tell since I have black-out curtains. I snap on the bedside lamp and glance at the phone, admiring its shiny rose gold color. Oh, I have to turn it on. (Another resolution: turn off the phone at night so that my American friends’ WhatsApp messages don’t ping and wake me up. Plus, it will save battery life.) Anyway, the phone is on. It’s 5:56 a.m. Brilliant. Time to write.

Ping, ping, ping.

I will not open WhatsApp. Hold on. There’s a message from that nice young man who brought me mangoes last night. I sent him a thank you text and he has responded. Isn’t it rude not to read his message? I mean, he won’t know I’ve seen it unless he sees that double blue check mark in the corner, will he? Wouldn’t want him to feel bad. I open WhatsApp. Aww, how nice. All kinds of messages. I will read later. Wait. Two texts from Mabel. She’s read my essay on the Legacy of Ebony and Female Sexuality. Yeah, she’s right. We love Daddy Lumba and all the guys singing about sex but woe unto a female who does it. Uhuh. Moving on. On my God. She has a new profile picture. I click on it. It’s beautiful! The little boy is so cute, he has her smile! Aww, I’ve got to say something. I type quickly.

Time check: 6:21. It’s not so bad. Doctors say you shouldn’t leap out of bed first thing in the morning. You should gradually get up. Half an hour is gradual. I’m about to lock the phone when I notice that little blue dot on the circle in the corner indicating people have posted statuses. I did post one myself last night, didn’t I?

Emmanuel’s picture shows he is at an airport, looking cold in a coat. Oh no, that meanshe’s out of the country and I can’t do my publicity photo shoot. I hate changing photographers. I shoot him a whiny text with crying emojis and he responds he’s in Holland. Sigh. Oh, Fred has a new status. I’ve got to check it. He always has a witty or funny proverb. That guy’s mind is a sponge that keeps soaking up knowledge. This morning’s offering, something like this: The man who eats an egg doesn’t know how the hen’s orifice hurts. I laugh out loud and send him laughing emojis. I scroll through the others quickly, yadda yadda yadda. Okay, time to get off WhatsApp.

Might as well check Facebook, right? Oh yes, my books have finally been released and will be here in less than a week. I have to let people know. To do that, I have to go to my publisher’s Instagram page and find the post advertising the book. There it is! How do I do this? Instagram won’t let you copy or save the picture. Oh, I know. I’ll take a screen shot and save it. Done! I post it to my Facebook but then I remember Booknook sending me a link they created for pre-orders. I’ve got to find it, which means opening WhatsApp again. Oh, a message from Laetitia in Paris. She loves my essay and is proud of me. I have to thank her. Done. Now, where was I? Oh yes, the bookseller’s link. So cool. I copy the link, exit WhatsApp and now I’m back on Facebook. Oh, the number 3 sways on that blue bell thingy. Notifications. Someone has already shared the post. Ok. I edit and add book link. A glance at the time. 7:18? Seven bloody eighteen? How did that happen? I leap out of bed and grab a pair of shorts, pull on a blouse. Seven eighteen. Really. I sashay into the sitting room, cross through the kitchen into the storeroom and pull out my yoga mat.

Ahh, exercise. Bliss. Now, how do you do down dog again? Breathe, stretch, plank, hold. Breathe. Sun salutation. Swan dive, rise into chair position. Oh, I forgot to do the cat thing. I get on all fours, push up my spine, tuck in my head. I hope it resembles a cat. Release, arch back, raise head, breathe. Repeat. This is fun. Time check: 8 o’clock. It’s still not bad. No one is awake. Of course. 6th March. Independence Day.

I eye my laptop lying closed on the couch. I want to write, but the first pangs of hunger hit me. Actually, they’re the second pangs. They were biting my stomach during Yoga; I just ignored them. I drink water. Oh yes, the mangoes the guy gave me. I grab two and wash them with vinegar and water. Then I sink my teeth into one. Mmmm. So good. Just the way I like it. A little tangy, not too sweet. I eat and gnaw until the seed is a furry white. Bliss. Now, I must have some tea to wash it down. I get hot water from the water dispenser and drop two sachets of green tea into it. I can’t believe I have only one lime left. The people in this house. Why they eat my limes is beyond me. Ping. Sigh. Oh, I forgot to check my email. Might as well do it all, right? I’ve been on Facebook, Insta and WhatsApp. Wouldn’t want my mail to feel left out. Just Gmail. Will leave Hotmail for later. There’s an urgent request from my publisher, which means I have to message Chez Alpha Books in Senegal to get the info. It’s about my upcoming book tour to Dakar. Back to Instagram. It’s the fastest way to get Chez Alpha. Done!

Oh no. It’s past 9 a.m. The household is awake. Sounds of drawers opening and closing. A door slams. I hear the hiss of a flushing toilet. Oh, I forgot. The tea bags are supposed to soak for only three minutes. Has it been an hour? The water is cold. Oh well. I’ll add honey and pretend it’s ice tea. Tomorrow I will do better. I will not look at my phone. I will not…. Let me drink my tea.

Bisi Adjapon is the author of Of Women and Frogs, named top 15 books 2018. She has written for McSweneys, Washington Times. Brittle Paper and other journals