I am struck by the word “metabolism.” It’s such a great word. It denotes a process in which an organic system transforms inputs and raw materials into energy. Our bodies take proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and transform them into tissue and stored energy. An “increased metabolism” is one in which this transformation process is occurring at an elevated rate. My work life has a metabolism as well. I take the raw materials of ideas, knowledge, experience, responsibilities, and expectations and transform them into service, relationships and results. An “increased metabolism” in this realm would be to produce more energy and…
As part of the rhythm of my productivity, I declare a “Theme for the Week” each Monday morning. At a 50,000 foot level, it helps me remember what I deem to be important that week. It’s what I’m working on.
The first Theme of the Week for 2013 is adapted from Steve Jobs. He has been quoted on multiple occasions as having said that the hardest part of good design is saying no to a thousand things. He said that it is not enough to be brilliant in figuring out what goes into your product. You have to be ruthless in paring down and leaving out what doesn’t belong.
It occurs to me that life — and especially productivity — thrives on the same principle.
1. importance requiring swift action
2. an earnest and persistent quality; insistence
The difference between a productive day and a non-productive day is a sense of urgency. Today was a good day.
There is an inescapable setup time for all tasks, large or minuscule in scale. It is often the same for one as it is for a hundred. There is a psychological switching of gears that can require up to 45 minutes to resume a major task that has been interrupted.
— Timothy Ferris, 4-Hour Work Week
Of course, I interrupted the book I was reading to post and Tweet this.
Focus is hard.
I have always found myself operating from a core set of operating principles — or “first principles,” if you will. Here are my guiding principles for 2011.
- Do the important stuff first
- If I want to read more, read more
- Pay attention
- Listen to my own voice
- Relationships matter