I’ve always really enjoyed writing or drawing out ideas I have. I suppose it’s for the same reason I enjoy writing in a journal so much. It lets me express an idea in a concise way that I can refer to whenever I want. I’m going to be sharing one of these drawings today.
As you can see from the above image, it’s called the Productivity Spectrum, and it works like this:
Each day, whether we choose to or not, we, by way of our decisions, land somewhere on this spectrum.
On the left side, you have the days when you’re less productive. In days like this, you will feel refreshed to be productive in the future, you will feel a lot of pleasure, but you’ll also feel some anxiety and regret. You regret not having been more productive because it feels “right” to you to do so.
And for me, on these days I feel a bit of anxiety because I think of how difficult it’s gonna be to get back to being productive the next day.
On the right side are more productive days. On days like this, you’ll feel content, in control, and as if you’re fulfilling some kind of purpose. That being said, ultra-productivity is also kind of boring. Going from one activity to the next, even if they’re excellent activities, quickly feels robotic.
In the center is the “dead zone.” These are days where you can’t really make up your mind about whether you want to be productive or not. And so, you sort of float by on “auto-pilot.” In my experience, this isn’t a great place to be.
If you want to be less productive on a given day, great. If you want to be more productive, also excellent. But it’s important to decide and thereby not let yourself fall into the stagnant center.
How to Use This
We’d all like to believe that things are either good or bad.
It would be easy for us to compartmentalize things if we could label them as much.
Alas, it’s not that simple.
Just about anything consists both good and bad qualities, and this is important to remember to develop a more realistic worldview.
And this graph helps me remember that. When I’m super productive, there are a couple downsides, and when I’m super leisurely, there are a couple upsides.
Therefore, it’s not fair to say that being productive is good or that not being productive is bad.
They are simply different—neither is good and neither is bad. So when you’re deciding how you’re going to spend your day, keep this in mind. Neither is right and neither is wrong, so there are certain situations where you’d want each.
The only way you can really go wrong for yourself is by choosing to spend your day in the center where you’re not making any conscious choice at all.
These are days you’ll just float by and do things automatically. In these days you get the worst of both worlds: the boredom from one side and the regret from the other. And that’s no fun.
So tomorrow, use this little chart I’ve made, and be decisive. Do you want to get a lot done, or do you really need a day to recharge your batteries? Today I decided to be more productive, and yesterday, I decided to allow myself a break for much of the day.
Either choice you make is okay, and it’s better to make any choice than no choice at all.
Let me know: have you ever caught yourself seeing something as entirely black or white rather than some shade of gray? How do you think that has impacted your decision making?
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment.
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