Over the years I’ve read a lot about productivity. I’ve also been around long enough to go through a few seasons of life. Here’s my take:
- Some people are naturally gifted with seemingly boundless energy. Some because of youth, some are built that way and remain so most of their life.
- Like Extroverts and Introverts are with social settings, some people get energized by their work, for others it’s exhausting. Even when their work is something they love.
- Telling people to “grind harder” who aren’t workaholics by nature will quickly make them pass a point of diminishing returns.
The grind hard people need organizational tips. The rest us need a different tactic.
I’m realizing that part of the reason I’ve gotten behind on things the last couple years is because I’m the second type of person. In the past my pattern is to push hard then crash. Then after I recover I push hard again. Over time, and with age and family responsibilities, the time needed to recover gets longer and longer.
In recent months I decided to try something different. Small consistent efforts. No matter how small. Even if it just meant a line or two. Moving something that needs to be shipped out in a more obvious place. Easy things.
On any given day nothing feels like a huge achievement, but after a month or two I realized that if I was doing this over the last year I’d be way ahead of where I am now.
There’s a word for this: diligence. A consistent expending of energy to finish a task.
A workaholic has a natural tendency to turn this virtue into a vice. The key part, I argue, is the constant showing up. Not necessarily the intensity of energy we put in at any given time. Energy ebbs and flows. But with diligence you can wear down a mountain. Just not all at once.6