Josh Brown wrote a typically interesting post yesterday offering Seven Ways to Make 2013 Your Most Productive Year Ever. In it, Josh provides some excellent advice, such as turning off the news, refusing to answer every email and reading more books. Because I pretty much agree with Josh’s points (except perhaps his ode to hip-hop), I’m probably quibbling about semantics (again), but I think that most of us would benefit from being less productive — at least as the term is generally understood.
What I’m getting at is that we should all focus on producing better stuff. For most of us, that means producing less and by resisting the tyranny of the now — in that sense at least, being less productive. Quality not quantity. Measure twice, cut once.
For most of us, our tendency is toward Don’t just stand there, do something. Please let me suggest a lot more Think more, act less.
I used to try to make my Saturday household chores more productive by listening to something “useful” while I worked or simply noisier by listening to something. Over the past year I have intentionally resisted that temptation and left myself alone with my thoughts while I work in the yard, clean gutters or install tile. It is amazing how many useful ideas I have come up with during those quiet times. I’ve even had to make sure I have paper and pen with me to capture everything — and that can get tricky on a ladder.
This idea is consistent with Josh’s argument in large measure, of course. Turning off the news and answering fewer emails will allow us to focus more and do a better job. We’d all benefit from more tuning out and turning off in order to reflect, analyze and imagine.
Good ideas can come pretty much fully formed in a serendipitous flash. But the best ideas usually need to simmer, with all the implications and nuances considered and dealt with.
So please, try to be less productive in the aggregate by making what you do produce really matter.