Saturday, July 6, 2013

4th of July special: How the miracle of "snakes" can make you more productive

Recently, a good friend of mine told me I should stop saying I was a blogger because I don't post regularly (an understatement, for sure).  

Oops!  She was right...

I've been stewing about this problem in the weeks since, and today, thanks to the recent 4th of July holiday, my children, and some "snakes" I was reminded of the answer and  discovered the perfect topic for my return to the blogosphere.

Here is how it happened.  This morning, the two teens decided to extend the holiday another day by setting off some snakes (made by Phantom Fireworks) in the driveway.  

How snakes work.

(Photo credits to my daughter Lydia.)

The unlit snake looks a bit like a Tootsie Roll, but not so appetizing:

To set off, light one end.  Then, watch the miracle: under the influence of the continuous flame,  a very long ashen "snake" is produced, appearing to arise out of nothing.

The final snake can be not only long, but  complex.  (I've included a flip flop-clad foot to add authenticity.)

So what do these snakes have to do with productivity?

Think of the unlit snake as an unacted on task - formless, small, unrealized.

By adding the flame of regular, consistent  action, you will watch your results emerge almost effortlessly.

You'll not only complete the task, but by applying regular consistent action your result will often be more complex and satisfying than you had imagined.

If this seems too simple to be true, give it a try: 

  1. Pick a task, any task, that you've been putting off.
  2. Figure out one action you could take that would get you closer to "done," and do it today.
  3. Tomorrow, do the same thing.
  4. And so on, every day, until the task is complete.