The Productivity Engine
Finding Balance in Everything We Do — Series Part I of IV
It is a box, it is 4-squares, it is the Space Scribble! Illustrated as a thought exercise, the horizontal line represents the action of doing, physical outputs with intensity scaling low to high from left to right. And the vertical line shows the thinking or cerebral actions with intensity scaling low to high from bottom to the top. The first square of the box we will focus on is the upper right corner, it is the highest level of thinking accompanied by the most intense level of physical actions as realized from the combined interpretation of the horizontal and vertical scales. This is your quintessential “in the zone” square where you are at the precipice of your adrenaline rush, up all knighting preparing for a talk, an event, or a performance. This is when you are the most productive, burning the midnight oil, because you are thinking a lot, doing a lot, you are flaming in all directions, which feels fantastic, you are at your peak.
This burn is so seductive that most often you don’t realize the finitude of your physical, mental, and psychological thinning, you continue to indulge in the rush. Executives or leaders from many large companies in fact take advantage of this burn, by giving you more challenges, more deadlines, and more milestones to keep you burning and burning. They in turn benefit greatly from this.
You will most often do it because the rewards will be so great, the recognition, the pat on the back, and the sense of accomplishment alone can keep you going for miles, then there is the possibility of promotions, advancements, fame, and monetary gains… You will go for it, keep on burning, until one day, you get burned out for being at the max for so long.
Burning on both ends isn’t a bad thing, but when you do it too hard for too long, things like nervous breakdowns, heart attacks, and tearful breakups, come to mind as a direct result of your assiduous machine operating at full capacity. Even machines need breaks, and cool-downs, not to mention our “soft mechanics” definitely aren’t designed for overclocking.
So take a step back, breathe, and jump into the next box to release yourself of the extreme intensity by creating some space.