Stop Gray Zoning

One of the most immediately applicable tips anyone could give you on increasing your level of productivity is to spend less time in the gray zone. When you’re working work, and when you’re revitalizing revitalize.

Don’t allow yourself to get caught in a weird hybrid of semi-productive activities because you lack the energy to complete truly important things, but are too stubborn to take a break.

Think of productivity as if it were a video game. Imagine writing, lifting weights, studying, or whatever you consider to be productive as costing one energy point per hour, but after an hour adding ten points to your score.

Let’s say being semi-productive and checking email, or doing “research,” on the internet costs 0 energy points per hour, but after an hour adds one point to your score.

Finally let’s imagine revitalizing activities such as socializing, or meditation contribute zero points to your score, but add two energy points to your “energy bar,” per hour.

Which mix of activities would allow you to attain the highest productivity score? A 2/1 ratio of time spent between intensive productivity activities, and revitalizing ones.

Of course, this is oversimplifying things, but the general idea is that you want the majority of your time being spent on concentrated periods of productivity, and things that refuel you.

If your time was a pie you’d want the smallest piece to be busy bee activities that are semi-productive at best.

Life isn’t only about productivity. Enjoyment and satisfaction are important as well, both of which are needs fulfilled inadequately by gray zoning. After a day at the beach with friends you typically feel deeply satisfied, and happy. Can you say the same after a day of surfing Reddit?

Life is best lived on the edges of the productivity scale, and if you’re spending the majority of your time gray-zoning you’re not going to enjoy life to the extent you’re meant to.

Make it a priority to spend more time being intensely productive, as well as deep in the process of revitalization, and I guarantee you’ll be happier and produce better results in every area of your life.

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