Focus On Production
We are both consumers and producers.
We all eat and drink and use water, electricity, natural gas, and gasoline in our daily lives.
We also produce things. We work. We earn money. We want to help other people, build a big company, create art, or ‘change the world’ in some positive way.
A healthy life involves both consumption and production. Producing feels good and helps others. Consumption is also enjoyable; eating, drinking, enjoying a hot shower, going on a nice vacation, and taking care of yourself.
Every human life both produces and consumes, but the level of focus that each receives makes the difference. What is the primary focus?
‘I live for the weekend’
“I work to live, I don’t live to work.”
“I don’t especially like my job, but it allows me to do X on the weekend.”
“I hate Mondays.”
“If I didn’t need to work, I wouldn’t. I’d rather do nothing, or watch TV.”
“What can I do now to reach X goal?” (Asked to oneself all the time)
“I should sleep, but I’m getting so much done.”
“I feel great doing something with a purpose.”
“How can I do this twice as fast?”
“I love learning things that make me better.”
“I take time off to re-charge.”
Focus Makes The Difference
Consumption doesn’t require focus. It comes naturally. All animals can consume, and even brainless bacteria can consume. With credit cards, it’s easy to become a super-consumer.
Production doesn’t come so naturally. It requires continual focus.
“If You Don’t Focus On Production, You Don’t Produce Much At All.”
Imagine working with intense focus in the morning. You are completely focused for 2 or 3 hours, you get something important done for your company, and you’re exhausted. Then you go out for lunch, sit back with a coffee and a sandwich talking with a friend and another 3 hours passes by without you hardly noticing.
If you’ve ever been a freelancer or an on-commission sales rep you know that once you have enough money in the bank to live comfortably for a little while, or once you hit quota, it requires much more focus to continue producing at high levels. Naturally, you’re pulled towards the alternative, consumption.
That’s why even though both production and consumption are important, I call you to “Focus on Production.”
Focus On Production
Work, a lot. Try becoming a workaholic.
Will life pass you by? No, and here are two reasons why.
First, you’ll still spend a large part of your time in consumption mode. Try tracking your time and see how much time you spend ‘not working’ even when you try to focus 100% of the time. You’ll be surprised. The fear that you will irreversibly 'snap' into being a workaholic is unfounded, but the fear may keep you from ever doing a solid day of work.
Second, work is a part of life. It’s part of you. You don’t just 'work to live' because working IS living. A great life necessitates a great relationship to work, just as it necessitates good relationships with your spouse, parents and siblings.
Someone who lives for the weekend and hates Mondays has a bad relationship with work, likely because they haven’t made the investment to improve that relationship. This is sad because your relationship with work is a long-term relationship, 8+ hours per day, for the majority of your life.
As with most relationships, when you apply more effort and focus, you start to see the benefits.
You Gain Power – You begin to gain control over when you work and what you work on. You build your own work, rather than accepting a defined ‘job’ from someone who has thought about it more than you. You stop hating Mondays. You have choices over what you do.
You Gain Efficiency – By applying the love of the artisan, you get better at what you do. You learn to work smarter. You become a top performer who gets more done in less time. You're compensated more for less time. You gain leverage. Resources are placed at your disposal.
You Gain A Surplus – If you only produce to consume (work to live) then you can’t build. When you produce more you have power reserves, potential energy and a surplus of value. You have choices. Compounding your surplus, you can build something much larger than yourself.
You get these benefits and improve your relationship to work with focus. Focus for long stretches of time. Focus that says ‘no’ to consumer distractions. Focus that stays in on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Focus that loves your work like an artisan loves his craft.
Then production becomes a valued, enjoyable part of your life. Like any relationship, you begin to love it. You stop ‘working to live’, and begin living even while you’re working.
Focusing on production is not some Sisyphus-boulder-push in self denial of all the enjoyable consumption in life. There are many enjoyable things to consume, but the focus on consumption leads to the fruitless, unending struggle. You continue to derive only marginal enjoyment from your work and with low efficiency and no surplus your consumption remains small as well.