I start working around 8 in the morning, and I’m normally done by 8 at night. Last week I took Sunday off, and built some games.
But what am I doing that I call work? How can I look back at the end of the day and know I was “productive”?
Hours worked are irrelevant. The real question is:
What have you built today that has enduring value?
I could argue that my photo readings have enduring value because they can change peoples’ lives, and who knows what value will come from that in the long term. But using that logic, sneezing at the right place and time has enduring value.
No, what I mean is producing something that didn’t exist yesterday, that is valuable now, and will continue being valuable for the foreseeable future. I always feel like I accomplished something when I release projects like my Energy Anatomy book, which will be helping people learn about energy work for years to come. I always feel productive when I’ve published a blog post that I know will inspire someone and continue inspiring people.
And I think, assuming you follow through, it’s productive to build part of a project that will be released. Most of my days are spent working on projects that are not yet ready to be released. When they finally are released to the world, all the “potential productivity” is transformed right then to actual productivity. Before that moment though, you’re just spinning your wheels.
Research is spinning your wheels. Thinking is spinning your wheels. Half completed projects are wheels that are spinning in place.
But let’s be honest. We all spin our wheels, and spinning is necessary. It’s like training for a triathlon. Sure, practice swimming and running and biking. But then show up to the race. Otherwise you’re just spinning your wheels.
Not only that, but sometimes we take a day off and play. If you’re just running for the joy of it, don’t worry about the race. I do photo readings because I love doing them, even though they don’t meet my definition of productivity. I write software most of the time just for fun, not to be productive.
The thing is I know the difference. When I’m doing something for fun, I let it be fun. When I’m doing something to be productive, that simple question is how I keep myself honest.
What have I built today that has enduring value?
10 or 11 hour work days are well and good, but they don’t mean shit except that I’m a masochist unless I produce something that has enduring value.
What have you produced today?