The Goldylocks Rule

Most of us have really productive days once in a while. We might even string a few days together or even an entire week of productivity. But when it comes to how to be productive on a constant basis? That’s a whole other question.
We’ve all faced moments where our productivity slips. Something happens or our routine changes and all of a sudden we feel defeated, frustrated, and angry that what was working so well suddenly stopped.
So what do we do? Maybe we look for a new app, tool, or productivity system. And while those might fix some short-term issues, eventually, the cycle starts up again and off we go…
The truth is, learning how to be productive on a consistent basis is a skill on its own. And one that doesn’t come down to a single “productivity hack.” In fact, the only way to be truly productive for long periods of time is to optimize not just for time and effort, but for your emotional state.
“Behind every intention, there is a (usually unconscious) competing commitment, or shadow intention, to do the opposite.” For example, behind the intention to be more open is another intention to close down. Behind the intention to stand up and speak your truth, there may be an intention to avoid disapproval. “Our failure to adequately appreciate the strength of our shadow commitments’ grip can leave us angry at ourselves for not ‘doing what I know I should.'” When it comes to how to be more productive, succumbing to your shadow intentions can undo all of the hard work you’ve put in. For example
Behind your intention to get better feedback is an intention to avoid negative criticism
Behind your intention to schedule more breaks is an intention to not look lazy
Behind your intention to not check email after work is an intention to be seen as dependable and available.
It’s these shadow intentions that break your productivity streaks and cause you to act against your better judgement. And the more you ignore them, the more powerful they become. The secret of productivity is simple: just do what you enjoy.
The human brain craves tasks that are difficult enough to push our abilities just beyond their limit but not so much that we become anxious. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this getting in the state of Flow. According to Csikszentmihalyi, you can find more Flow in your work by asking these two questions:
Is this task challenging enough? Finding Flow depends on pushing the limits of your abilities. If you find yourself losing the motivation you once had, it’s probably time to find other ways of challenging yourself.
Am I able to see the progress I’m making? Flow also depends on seeing the progress you’re making and being able to react to it, which isn’t always easy for modern workers. Whenever possible, set up systems and tools that can show you the work you’ve put in (either through time spent or hitting goals).

Hi, I'm making this website as a hobby that I'm hoping will grow into something that I can leave behind that'll benefit family and friends and anyone else who it touches. I find it very therapeutic and relaxing, and I hope I can help someone along the way. Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or suggestions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.