Today was a crazy day. We’re launching a new eBook with another site on dPS tonight so there was lots of planning, writing of copy for emails, sales pages and blog posts, setting up of shopping carts and much much more.
I thought that the day would be a write off when it came to my other activities, yet I still managed to get a lot done – perhaps even more than a normal day. I wrote 4 blogs posts (actually this one makes it 5), edited 4 others from other writers, managed to keep my inbox down to the same level it was at yesterday and did a bit of preparation for a sermon I’m writing for my church next Sunday… not to mention normal family stuff.
How was it that today was more productive than a normal day?
Today wasn’t a freak day where I worked any longer hours than normal, dosed up on cold and flu tablets, or drank 6 coffees instead of my normal 2. Over the years I’ve noticed these kinds of days before – and there’s one common thread among them….
I can sum it up with this chart:
I find that on the days that I fill up with tasks and deadlines that I tend to get a lot more done than the days that I have open.
When I don’t set out to achieve anything – I tend not to get anything done while on the days I wonder if I’ll get anything completed because I have too much to do I tend to exceed my expectations and get more than I planned to do done.
Of course there comes a point on the ‘busyness’ spectrum where things can get overwhelming to the detriment of productiveness (I’ve had days where I’ve been completely paralysed by the overwhelming nature of it all) but in general I’d say that I’m at my best when I’m busy.
I think this partially explains why as a student at university I was a pretty pathetic student and could never seem to get an assignment in on time. I had 10 contact hours and only had to show up to classes for 2 part days a week. I had 3 full days off to get everything I needed to do done, but never seemed to achieve it while my friend with 35 contact hours a week seemed to get everything done.
I always saw myself as undisciplined. Perhaps there was some truth in that but ever since I started blogging I’ve always wondered why that ‘undisciplined streak’ has never really come back. I thought for a while I might have just grown out of it, but I suspect it’s had more to do with the fact that I’ve been keeping myself busy.
When I started blogging I had numerous part time jobs and was finishing my studies in Theology and blogged ‘on the side’ (nights mainly). As I let go of the part time jobs I started multiple blogs and other projects as I had capacity – but have always stretched myself and taken on a little more than I could easily do. As a result I’ve always felt a little stretched, but have have always had to focus and set myself priorities in order to get what I set out to achieve done.
Is it just me who is wired this way or do others find their productivity increases as their busyness does?
PS: I’d issue one word of warning on this. Over the 8 years that I’ve been working this way there have been a couple of times I stretched myself too far. You’ll notice that the chart has a tipping point where busyness can lead to less productivity. Don’t burn yourself out!