PW1: Two hats for productivity

Welcome to 2024. Back to work, here we go. So it’s Productivity Week on the blog.

Productivity is the measure of the output (value) we get for the time or money we spend.

Two hats for productivity:

When I’m clearing my inbox, responding to comments in a doc, cooking lunch–these are chores.

Chores are the backbone of industrial productivity. We can check them off, measure them and see them stacked up.

Most of the time, most of us do chores. Finding a way to do your chores more productively is quite leveraged, and you can put it to use right away.

The other hat, though, looks very different.

This is the hat of initiative.

Finding a new problem to solve.

Looking for new tools.

Asking questions when we’re not sure there’s even an answer.

Launching a new project that might not work.

When staring into the bottomless hole of initiative, chores are tempting. Because they put us back on firm footing.

Neil Gaiman has a simple solution for writer’s block: He puts himself into a room where there are absolutely no chores to do. No sites to check, no emails to answer. Nothing productive is available except for initiative.

It’s hard to wear two hats at once.

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