|photo source: www.albertvick.com|
But can this approach (on occasion) be counter productive? What if "try harder" results in a worse product?
My children love the book The Little Engine That Could. You remember it, don't you? The poor choo-choo train packed with toys for the little boys and the little girls broke down at the base of the mountain. Who will help pull the train up and over the mountain to deliver the toys to all the boys and girls waiting on the other side?
The big freight train says no. The passenger train says no. And then the little blue engine, chipper and optimistic says he'll give it a shot. He will try.
I am a try-er. I respect fellow try-er-ers.
But I found myself in the last week slowly losing ground up that hill. I've willed. I've stayed up late every night. I've asked God for supernatural strength.
One thing I haven't done yet is pull the emergency brake mid-hill. Maybe I should nap. Or go for a run. Or read something for pleasure. Or listen to some inspirational music and stare out at the ocean.
Would I be more productive if I stopped trying for a stint?
I'm reading Brene Brown's book The Gift of Imperfection, and she touches on the same concept. She was talking about a time in her life when she was emotionally, physically, and spiritually done, and she decided to do something atypical in response:
"I told myself, 'If you need to refuel and losing yourself online is fun and relaxing, then do it. If not, do something deliberately relaxing. Find something inspiring to do rather than something soul-sucking. Then, last and not least, get up and do it!' I closed my laptop, said a little prayer to remind myself to be self-compassionate, and watched a movie that had been sitting in a Netflix envelope on my desk for over a month. It was exactly what I needed."
Maybe this is what I need? Maybe it is what you need?
Incidentally, I read this interesting article over at the Harvard Business Journal on productivity: For Real Productivity, Less is Truly More. Tony Schwartz argues that physiologically our bodies are wired for 90-minute sprints of high intensity productivity. And then we dip because we aren't little blue choo-choo trains operating on mechanical engines. We actually have physical limitations that make it impossible for us to run at an exorbitant pace for an unrealistic period of time.
No wonder we drink so much coffee.
Chipping away at this post I also found this article over at Forbes: Eight Ways Goofing Off Can Make You More Productive. I'm sure all you 'golden retrievers' will love it.
Anyhoo, tomorrow I'm pulling the emergency break. I've canceled everything on the calendar. I'm going to a coffee shop with a book and a Bible. I might go to the beach (if it's not too chilly) and sit and stare at the vastness of God's beauty. I might play some volleyball. I might go to a movie by myself. I need it. And if my self tells myself I'm being dramatic and weak by taking tomorrow for pleasure, I'm going to remind myself that Harvard Business Review and Forbes and Brene Brown told me it was good for me.