FUNNY WOMEN: Haruki Murakami’s Productivity Hacks


Tap into the following relatable productivity hacks to get more done in this life and the next one—and the parallel life you’re living now in which you have fuller breasts with pinker nipples.


Maintain a lonely, separate orbit.

Whether your goal is to run a marathon or to find your omnipotent cat lost in a maze of the Tokyo underworld, you must remove distractions. Check your email at designated times. Block social media. Learn to recognize the types of women who pull you away from your work. Avoid the clairvoyant prostitutes, the prostitutes with wooden legs, the prostitutes with a dark secret. Avoid all prostitutes who quote the work of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and the prostitutes who entered this dimension through a portal in a freight elevator.

Cut out the teenage girls competing for your attention. This includes the sullen teens and the mysterious teens. This especially includes the teens who are so precocious they’ve convinced you they are appropriate sex partners for men in their fifties. Avoid teenagers with supple breasts that bob pleasingly like buoys on the choppy waters of the Sea of Japan. Avoid the teens who speak in haunting, elegiac prose.

Any woman who is neither teen girl nor prostitute is bound to go missing; avoid them.

If you do encounter a woman, do not listen to her riddles! She will pull you away from your goals and set you on the path of a mind-bending detective story.


Wake up early, but not too close. Wake up soon, but far.

Assuming time is still moving forward and not inward, your morning routine can boost your productivity. Establish a routine that centers you for your work as a math teacher who is also a novelist; or as a legal assistant who is also a detective; or as a salaryman with a sexual fetish for ears.

When you first wake up, don’t read the news. Before bed, disable alerts. Never answer any cryptic phone calls from mediagenic members of the Japanese political elite.

Instead, do something meditative. Sit at the bottom of a well. Read the complete works of Natsume Sōseki. If you lapse into a surreal fantasy about the time you spent in the Kwantung Army during the occupation of Manchukuo, then you’ve meditated too far.

Morning exercise can also ignite that creative spark. Try to outrun an oedipal prophecy. If you’re a woman, you likely have an elaborate stretching routine from your years as an assassin without any moral compass or backstory or internal life.

Also, if you’re a woman, ensure exercise accommodates your breasts—those mesmerizing hemispheres below the sharp swords of your clavicles. Breasts with asymmetrical nipples that point south of the border, west of the sun. Inquisitive breasts that seem to ask, “What is the texture of memory?”


Tomatoes and time are tasteless shadows.

Get more done with the Pomodoro Technique. Pomodoro means “tomato” in Italian, but this method has little to do with the fruit that glistens on the vine like the ripe breasts of a large-breasted prostitute thirty years your junior.

Set a timer, pour a glass of Cutty Sark, and work furiously for a period of anywhere from twenty-five minutes to seventeen years in the past. Take a break. Check on baseball, cook some pasta, muse about how an ear is little more than a sideways vagina cemented to the head of a woman—a portal for sound, life, and pleasure. Then back to work for another Pomodoro! You’ll be amazed at how efficiently one can build a flute out of the souls of the dead with this simple method.


Following any or all of these hacks will lead to productivity—or to discovering a loophole in which your characters have frequent and illegal sex with minors and the international literati still adore you.


Rumpus original art by Natalie Peeples.


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Leslie Ylinen is an advertising copywriter and humor writer based in San Francisco. Her writing appears frequently on McSweeney's Internet Tendency, among other sites. She has not won any awards for her writing, but she did receive very polite threats from Canadians for making fun of RUSH. She has spawned exactly one human child. More from this author →