Be Freaking Productive

Don’t get me wrong, I respect Seth a lot. In fact he’s one of the very few bloggers almost never make me feel bored. But sometimes advice like this one comes a bit too much to me. It’s not only Seth of course. How many blogs advice you to work or study every minute? Techniques for speed reading, speed eating, speed sex, speed working, speed living… give me a break.

A tired man
Photo by Tim Caynes at Flickr

What’s wrong with you people? Do you really want to turn into robots? If you have studied some basic economics, you know that people in the past have done exactly that – they have been working all the time and had break only to sleep. Only after the technology and economy have grown enough people became able to enjoy such a thing like “spare” time. Now do we want to go back to the middle age again, huh!?

I am very much for working on your personal growth. In fact I believe growing your personality and raising your conscience is – if not the purpose of life – at least one of the most important and most useful things you can do with it. So yes, you should invest in yourself, learn, take care of your health and work towards achieving your goals.

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I have a problem with sacrificing all my spare time however. For example we’ve been told to give up TV because it’s dull. I agree TV is dull. But exactly that one hour of stupid reality shows and manipulated news stories while having dinner is what my brain needs to relax from working on hard problems all the day. Another thirty or sixty minutes walking, cooking or having light conversations help me recharge and feel better even if they don’t help me grow directly. No, I am not going to listen to self-motivation e-books or language courses while having dinner, neither I am going to eat processed crap just because I could save the time for preparing dinner to work and use it to make more money.

Instead of ruling your day to the last minute, why don’t you try to think bigger? What are the problems that you want to solve? What are the areas where you want to grow? If you can’t solve your problems during the 8-10 active hours per day, what makes you believe that putting another sixty minutes is going to make the big difference? Most probably it will not.

Let’s say you aren’t making enough money and think to work more to solve that problem. But how much more time can you work? Probably no more than additional 1-2 hours. Even if we consider you don’t lose your productivity because of getting tired and don’t ruin your health, you are going to make only 15%-20% more money this way. But 15%-20% more money don’t solve many problems. On the contrary, very often they just lead to more and bigger issues. Instead of sacrificing your spare time for 20% increased income, you could spend half of that time thinking and trying to radically improve the way you make money.

Working harder gives some results. Working smarter works better. And I don’t think to deprive yourself from all the leisure activities that you enjoy is the way to go – even if some of these activities are not that smart.

Jake