I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the habits of productive people. When I say productive I mean successful–as in setting out to accomplish something and then doing it.
I’ll put up Paul Graham and Sam Harris as examples.
They produce. They spend very little time on random enjoyment. They plan their fun, and that fun comes in the form of creating quality output. And as a result they have a lot to show.
I take a few takeaways from this:
- Set out goals you want to accomplish with your reading, writing, etc.
- Plan them. Don’t deviate.
- Get through your reading.
- Finish the article/book you’re working on.
- Treat your spare time similar to work, in that you must complete things you work on.
- Don’t allow yourself to drift from shiny thing to shiny thing.
People who just do random things in their spare time end up years later with nothing to show for their efforts. For many creative, smart people being unproductive means being unsuccessful.
So don’t do that.
Set goals. Put your enjoyable tasks on a project list, and attack them methodically. Do the project right. Finish it. Don’t give partial effort, and don’t abandon projects often.
Then look back a month or a year later and enjoy what you’ve created.