Productivity Cycles


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Let me know if you’ve ever felt this way:

Everything is piling up. Emails, todos, housework, bills, taxes, books to read. It’s endless.

You develop avoidance. You can’t even look at the things you need to do. 

What’s worse is the knowledge that two months ago you had the perfect system. Everything was humming on all cylinders. 

But now the mess is up to your ears. It’s everywhere you turn.

You start piecemeal triage. Instead of clearing everything out, you just put out the really urgent fires. You’re not doing everything you need to do, but you are doing just enough to quell the, “Just following up on this…” emails you feel guilty about even getting.

Guilt. That’s a good word. Shame is another one. Compounded by the persistent thought, Is this ever going to go away? Am I just like this now?

It’s a constant weight. You feel bad. It feels like it’s going to go on forever.

This is how I am, you think.

Then, suddenly, from one moment to the next: your wind picks up. The leaves start to rustle. Thunder. Lightning. ZAP.

Everything shifts. 

You’re suddenly like the mother who lifts an entire car to rescue her trapped child. You’re full of piss and vinegar. 

You sit down at your laptop. You crack your knuckles. Energy is crackling in your fingertips. 

You are a warrior. You will not be beaten. You will conquer this mess right now.

And in a furious fugue state you beat back the emails. You plow through the todos. You clean your apartment from top to bottom.

You restore balance to the universe. Everything is okay again.

You look at your watch. It took you about an hour. Maybe two. 

You’ve just experienced a productivity cycle.

The question is: where do productivity cycles come from? And how should we think about working through them?

We cover that and more in the rest of this Members Only post. Click below to read the rest of it.

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