Don’t be a Hero — Be Consistent.
It’s easy to imagine that the people who accomplish a lot are all workaholic zombies who are allergic to having fun.
Surely they must do nothing but work all day when you consider their incredibly impressive output.
But what if this intuition is flat-out wrong?
It’s not wrong all the time — there certainly are those hyper-obsessed workaholics who do work constantly.
But not everyone who accomplishes a lot is like this.
Many of these people have fairly regular lives: they spend quality time with their families, they take vacations, and they enjoy some hobbies.
So what then, is their secret to getting sh*t done??
The writer Tim Urban(founder of the popular blog “Wait, but Why?”) really opened my eyes to this reality when I heard him on a podcast recently.
He said that 30 minutes of reading a day works out to 1000 books in 50 years.
This is a profound realization when you think about it: To have absorbed the knowledge of 1000 books seems miraculous, but can feasibly be accomplished with an investment of only 30 minutes per day.
Productivity is like the stock market, it benefits from the effects of compounding.
Much like putting $100 dollars per month into an index fund, seemingly insignificant amounts of effort can compound over time to return truly impressive results.
And there is an added benefit to approaching work this way: it’s sustainable.
The person who tries to be a hero will very likely burn out from pushing too hard, and this will inevitably lead to a decrease in output.
The person who keeps plugging along at a sustainable pace, however, can continue to produce and won’t have their flow interrupted.
A useful analogy here is dieting: People who attempt to diet too drastically (and too quickly) will often fail — this is known as yo-yo dieting.
The results of this can be worse than if they never dieted in the first place.
The people who kept the weight off dieted at a slower pace and adopted more reasonable habits that were sustainable.
So how is this useful?
If you have been struggling with motivation, consider that perhaps you are putting too much on your schedule.
Is there room to reduce the load while maintaining consistency?
What would just 1 hour of writing before work look like after a year?
Just 45 minutes daily in the gym?
Just 5 hours of learning per week?
Being consistent at a sustainable pace will return better results than if you push yourself to the point of burnout.
Don’t be a hero, be consistent.