Run, Run, Run, Then Unplug On Sunday Morning: Productivity Tips From The Underground

In 1967, the Velvet Underground released an album that would change the trajectory of rock ‘n’ roll forever. Decades later, it’s still inspiring: This time with lessons on decision making, self-awareness, and productivity.

Run, Run, Run, Then Unplug On Sunday Morning: Productivity Tips From The Underground

Welcome to the third installment of Fast Company‘s Leadership Album of the Week, where we make a pathetic (but inspired!) attempt at misinterpreting famous song lyrics for the benefit of your productivity.


We’ve already embarked on a belief-filled ride with Journey’s 1981 epic, Escape and the Talking Head’s funky Speaking in Tongues. Today, we turn to the Velvet Underground and vocalist Nico’s debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (we know, a really creative title).

We choose this album not only because it remains one of the most influential collections of music to grace popular music, but because upon the release of The Velvet Underground & Nico, it was regarded as a relative flop. Today, hearing that sounds insane–the album was even produced by Andy Warhol, how could it not be a massive success? As we’ve written about before, innovators are often ignored in their fields–and laughed at for their bold ideas–before finding recognition later for their accomplishments.

With that said, here are a few things to remember:


1. Play the video.
2. Understand that we take lyrics completely out of context the value of our advice.
3. Repeat.

“Sunday Morning”

Watch out, the world’s behind you
There’s always someone around you who will call
It’s nothing at all

There are two ways to end a weekend. You’re either completely relaxed after enjoying a few days off, or completely freaking out because Monday’s just hours away and you haven’t taken any time for yourself.

Let’s not let the latter happen. How, you ask? We would recommend unplugging (removing yourself from work and your devices) so you don’t go absolutely crazy.


[Kansas State University organizational psychologist Young Ah Park] found that people who unplug over the weekend have higher satisfaction with life than people who spend their Saturdays stuck in their inbox. And that wellness, we know, leads to at-work achievement.

“I’m Waiting for My Man”

He’s never early, he’s always late
First thing you learn is you always gotta wait
I’m waiting for my man

You’ve always got to wait, man.

Instead of just standing there, make the most of your downtime–whether it’s five minutes or an hour– and do something productive. Give a new language a shot, play a game (trust us!), or clean your work space.

“I’ll be your mirror”

I’ll be your mirror
Reflect what you are, in case you don’t know
I’ll be the wind, the rain, and the sunset
The light on your door to show that you’re home

Sometimes we aren’t able to see ourselves for who we really are, and what our entrepreneurial pursuits are doing to us. Try asking yourself if you’re passionate or delusional.


Truth be told, I think the difference between passion and delusion isn’t even very distinguishable. I suspect many an entrepreneur has fallen too far down the rabbit hole without even realizing it. It happened to me. Maxed-out credit cards, empty cupboards, and a frustrated spouse helped me wake up to the delusion I created in myself.

Okay, delusional might be a harsh way to put it, but it’s worth getting it out in the air. If you really want to be honest about yourself (and your career), try going to a third party for some perspective. The result might surprise you.

“The Black Angel’s Death Song”

The myriad choices of his fate
Set themselves out upon a plate
For him to choose
What had he to lose

Decisions, decisions, decisions. How, oh how, will the Black Angel deal with the “myriad choices of his fate”? Perhaps he’d have an easier time if he used our definitive guide to decision making, which makes sense of the often overwhelming galaxy of decision-making advice.

[Image: Flickr user Robin_24]


About the author

Former Editorial Assistant Miles Kohrman helped run Fast Company's homepage and completed miscellaneous tasks around the newsroom. He is a 2013 graduate of The New School.