Productivity is Remaining Centered throughout your Day

picture of a wheel in salta, argentina Yesterday was just one of those days of accomplishing absolutely nothing. Sure, I made a video. That was cool. But all n’ all, the day passed by in little superficial skips between learning languages, reading, talking with friends, watching “Californication,” learning how to design ebooks, cruising around on for cool books, writing a bit, etc… My head was cloudy as a storm and I couldn’t really get anything done. I lost momentum. I lost my center. I was overstimulated with too many tasks.

For sure, some of you guys can multitask! And I guess that I can too, to some extent. But I find that if I lose my center — just once — throughout the day, it’s not always easy to get it back instantly. It usually takes going outside and getting into a meditation or contemplation — allowing my mind to go blank; allowing it to reset, so to speak, to get back. But the more I try to continue doing “a little bit here and a little bit there,” with all sorts of projects, and no re-centering in between, the cloudier my mind becomes. And the quality of the work becomes increasingly poorer throughout the day.

It’s not that doing a lot of things per day is unproductive — no, not all all. I just think that these many things need some structure and respect. Each project must be given the proper respect that it deserves. You don’t learn a language by learning one word per day. You learn it by spending at least thirty — solid and undisturbed — minutes per day practicing grammar, vocabulary, and speaking.

But I guess that I should be thankful for such a cloudy and unproductive day yesterday, because it gave me the insight to write this article. It gave me the concept of a wheel that represents our lives. Check it out:

  • Our entire lives (or for the sake of clarity, let’s just say “our entire day”) can be represented by a wheel. We wake up and begin rolling that wheel. It may roll into all sorts of things — painting, reading, entrepreneurship, whatever.
  • Each spoke on the wheel represents our daily actions or passions or events or the things we’re trying to accomplish throughout the day.
  • At the center of the wheel, the hub that connects everything, is you. You are the one holding it all together. You are the one going with the movement of the wheel — guiding its direction.

But here’s the issue that I had yesterday — the same issue that I think many of us face from time to time — I tried to create multiple wheels and keep them all rolling simultaneously. I tried and tried until my center was so entirely lost and I became so spent that I was rendered, more or less, useless. In other words, I popped my own tire!

And because of this futile, circus-act attempt to do so much in one day — sometimes at the same time! — I really accomplished only one thing yesterday quite well: to remain in a constant state of stagnation and haze. To remain sort of burnt out the entire day while trying to resuscitate by switching to something else then something else… chasing my own tale like a crazed dog that’s been tied to a post for three days without food.

Thank God, I think there’s a simple solution to this problem:

  1. Roll one wheel per day and
  2. Rest that wheel after each project.

Don’t think of the wheel as rolling fast. No, think of it as rolling one spoke at a time. So you wake up and roll into reading. You’re at the reading spoke and you’ve stopped there to do some good, quality, deep reading for an hour or two — nothing else. Then you roll onto writing and the wheel stops there to do some genuine, thought-provoking, earnest writing for an hour or so — nothing else. Then you roll onto selling your product, and for the next two hours that’s all you’re doing — selling hard! — nothing else. Get the idea, here? And between each new spoke, you should rest. Even if it’s for just five or ten minutes. Get up and stare out the widow. Go outside and take a breather. Or if you work at home like me, go wash those dishes or dump some clothes in the washer — it really doesn’t matter. The idea is to reset yourself and to make sure that you’re still centered before moving on. It’s sort of like pushing that plug back into the wall more securely to make sure it’s recharging properly.

It’s no longer about fragmenting your day into atom-sized events that are so small and superficial that nothing actually gets done. Nah, that game is over. Now it’s about going deep into fewer things and actually getting some real work done. Actually holding your center. Staying grounded. Remaining rooted. Constantly charged.

I think this is what true work and productivity is all about. It’s about depth, not breadth.

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About David Askaripour

I've been thinking about life, existence, and truth for as long as I could remember. When I was about 7 I remember getting a headache trying to figure out who created God...and if someone created him, then who create him? I love investigating and testing, taking nothing for truth that outside my direct experience. At the age of 12, I started my own candy selling business; it grew so large that the principal ended up closing me down (but that was just the beginning...) Through my videos and articles, I share my journey with the world.

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2 Responses to Productivity is Remaining Centered throughout your Day

  1. Kristina October 4, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    Absolutely LOVE this article. So very true & fantastic analogy!!! Thanks so much for your time, your wisdom and insights, and your LOVE!!! Keep being YOU because YOU rock!!!!!!!!!!!

    • David Askaripour October 5, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

      Hey Kristina,

      You rock!! Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate you. Keep on living well!

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