Ask the Elegant Stoner: Tips for being productive while high
It’s back! Yes, after a few weeks away, our advice column has returned! Welcome back to another edition of our column Ask the Elegant Stoner, in which we answer a question from our readers and provide some insight for you about an aspect of cannabis. Remember, as always, that this is an answer provided by a cannabis expert, not a medical doctor, so definitely talk to a real physician before taking any medical advice. This column is for entertainment purposes only — definitely talk to a medical professional before doing anything that would affect your health, and obviously you should only buy, use, and consume cannabis where it’s legal to do so.
If you have a question you need answered, feel free to send it along to us, and you might get to read it here in a future column. Today, our question comes from Samantha K., who says:
I hate getting high and then sobering up a few hours later, only to realize I haven’t done anything with my day at all. How can I be more productive while high?
Thanks, Samantha! That’s definitely an issue a lot of people have dealt with — cannabis can be distracting at the very least, and lower you into the couch and sap your energy at worst. Fortunately, it’s totally possible to smoke and still stay productive, as long as you increase your mindfulness and have a little self control. Here are our five best tips for staying productive while you’re high.
1) Don’t be high when you need to be sober.
The first tip is probably the most obvious: If you can’t be productive while high, then you shouldn’t be high. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t smoke at all (though of course it’s up to you and your doctor what healthy behavior means), but it does mean that if you have something so important happening that you can’t miss it, maybe the best plan is to step away from the drug entirely. That includes any dangerous activity too, like driving while high, or operating heavy machinery (or any job, really). You may complain that your job at the grocery store is impossible to do without getting high, and that’s up to you, but of course there are likely consequences for doing things like that. Bottom line: If you’re doing something so important that it’s not easy to do while high, you probably could use a break from the drug. Withdrawal isn’t fun, but it ain’t fatal, and being high in a moving vehicle or in situations where you need all of your awareness and senses definitely can be.
2) Follow a to-do list or a preplanned schedule.
All of that said, sometimes you just want to have a productive Saturday, and you’re finding that your wake and bake sessions are extending from the morning hours into the late afternoon or evening. In those times, having a plan is your best bet. Grab a pen or pencil and paper, and as early as you can (maybe even the night before), write down exactly what you’d like to do and when. Maybe you need to get laundry done, or the dishes need cleaning, or you need to get through a book for your book club.
This list will be your guide and your motivation: write down that you’ll start laundry at 10am, or that you’ll do the dishes while listening to a favorite album, or that you’ll read your book for one hour. Then, even after you get stoned, you can check back to the list for clues on what to work on, and when you do something on it, you can celebrate by crossing the item off (or lighting up another joint, if that’s what you want). As you do this more, you’ll learn what things work best on the list or how you want to order your life to get it all the way you want it. Yes, some days you’ll still just want to be lazy or skip a schedule, but for those days when you need to complete things, try following a todo list or schedule and see if that helps even through the fog of a great indica.
3) Be kind to your other self.
So much of productivity comes not necessarily from external forces, but from our own internal guilt: We get angry at ourselves because we smoked all day instead of getting things done, or because we got too high and didn’t go to the post office or walk down to the grocery store. But you don’t have to be mean to your high self: you can love them! Your sober self can do nice things for your high self, like leave an ice cream treat in the freezer for them to forget about and then discover while high. And your high self can do good things for your sober self as well — maybe if you’re high and you notice the carpet is a little messy, you can have a playday with the vaccum and then sober up a few hours later with a clean carpet.
Sometimes all it takes is a little adjusted point of view: If you think of your “other” self as a good friend and someone you care about, you might treat them better. Too often, people treat themselves like bad roommates, always asking themselves why things didn’t get done or why they didn’t keep their promises to themselves. Treating yourself like a best friend will not only make you feel better, but it’ll make things more fun. Doing chores doesn’t have to be a slog you’re putting yourself through — it can be something fun your high self is doing to reward your sober self for that bag of candy they stashed away for you.
4) Use it for enhancement, not motivation.
A wise old stoner once said that cannabis is a drug of momentum: Whatever you’re doing when you smoke, you’ll keep doing more of that. If you’re sitting on your couch and watching cartoons when you hit the bong, odds are good that you’ll still be sitting on your couch a few hours later. But if you start cleaning, or start drawing and then hit the bong, the odds are much better than you’ll stick with what you’re doing, and maybe even get lost in your thoughts while doing it.
This technique isn’t always foolproof — sometimes if you need to wash the car for example, and get high expecting to get yourself outside and start washing right after, you’ll instead sit down to watch a bit of TV, get distracted, and then you’ve lost a few hours (but learned a whole lot about the Real Housewives of Miami). And of course some things are harder to do while high — if you start doing differential calculations and then get high, you might have some issues focusing up (depending on the strain and your mental state, however — some people might really enjoy that). Just remember that cannabis is an enhancer rather than a motivator — it enhances what you’re doing. You have to provide the motivation yourself, most of the time.
5) Save the best for last.
If nothing else works, here’s one more thing you can do: Save the cannabis until you’re done with everything you need to do. This is similar to the first tip, but it’s slightly different, in that you can just straight up use cannabis as a reward once you’ve completed all of your todos. Yes, it’s not as fun doing your chores while sober, but it is more fun knowing that there’s a nice big bowl ready to be lit up at the end of them. You can even reward yourself on a longer term, or even outside of just cannabis: If you have a big project going on at your job due Friday, you can finish it up carefully while sober, and have some dank nugs ready to go on Friday night, along with your buddies and a movie you’ve been wanting to see. If you need to work to sign papers, get inspections done, and get your first house, then save a special joint for right after the closing process, after the papers are signed and everyone’s gone home.
If you choose to use cannabis, you should always do so safely and mindfully. Hopefully, these tips will help you prioritize whatever it is you’re working on, and ensure that cannabis helps you enhance an already great life, rather than having to rely on it, or worse, have your life made worse because of it. If you absolutely can’t get things done while high, then maybe it’s time for a t-break, but hopefully our tips here will help get you in the right mindspace to do what you need to do. Good luck!