Productivity Tip: Meaningful vs Petty Snowball

I love watching series. Although I never watch TV, there are at least 5 series which I follow online every week, and in total I end up watching more episodes than that because I am still trying to catch up with the latest one I started watching (2 seasons done, 2 more to go!).

Tuesday is usually the day when I watch more episodes, because most air on Sunday or Monday and I have the whole afternoon for myself on Tuesdays, but today was a little different. I watched an episode while having lunch and another one after finishing my most important task for the day, and then I went to work on a very long blogpost*.

I finished working on it at about 9 PM (with some breaks in between) and something happened: I was very proud for my work because I really like the post, but I didn’t feel like rewarding myself by watching another episode. Instead, I wanted to write more! I even tried to do something to distract myself but here I am, writing some more because it just feels right.

The little episode – no pun intended, or was it? – made me wonder about meaningful work vs. distractions and time-wasters. I had already noticed a pattern in my behavior: the more episodes I watched or the longer I surfed the web, the more I wanted to do it and the harder getting to the meaningful work seemed.

Today I watched the opposite happen! After having spent so much time over multiple days writing a post that turned out to be more than 4000 words in length, I didn’t want to stop. And the only reason I didn’t think of starting another long post was because bedtime was approaching and I really need my 8 hours a night.

So before I go to bed now, I want to leave you with this: you know about the snowball effect? The one where the more positive action you take, the easier it gets to be positive and the same for negative action? Well, see this as the meaning vs. petty snowball. The more you do that has meaning – either to you, because you created it, or to someone else, because they will learn from it / enjoy it / receive help / etc.; and what I did fulfilled both -, the more you’ll want to do meaningful things. The same way for petty things that don’t contribute a dime to society or to you. So choose wisely

And another tip: if you want to stop a petty snowball on its tracks, start taking a little positive action (like taking a shower) and then proceed to ever more meaningful work as the day(s) progress. Make sure you start building your meaningful snowball early every day, so it’ll have time to get nice and big and crush the petty ones on its way.

*I’m giving the post a few days before I read it again and figure out if I want to change anything. It should be published later this week. (edit March 23: the post is up, click here to read it)

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