For entrepreneurs: How to balance the productivity rush (Adrenalin) versus the fun rush (Endorphins)

According to Wikipedia:

The term endorphin rush has been adopted in popular speech to refer to feelings of exhilaration brought on by pain, danger, or other forms of stress”

An adrenaline rush is … one’s body releases dopamine which can act as a natural pain killer.

I am a card carrying member of the productivity p0rn cult. I am always looking for ways to be more productive. I know most of the keyboard shortcuts on applications I use daily. Cut a minute here, a minute there and it all adds up.

To give me a lot more time – to waste.

Thankfully we don’t have a television at home, which was my biggest time waster, but that time is being quickly consumed by Facebook and Twitter. I gave up reading physical print a long while ago, primarily because of the inconvenience of recycling them. But then I found techmeme and hacker news. They now consume 50% more time than pre-1995 when I used to read printed news and paperbacks.

I do like to get a lot of things done. I generally have a list of 1-3 things I want to get done daily, which I work on, early in the day. Post-lunch, when I am more likely to fall asleep, I try to schedule most of my meetings.

I know that doing fun things like reading the 2 millionth post on Steve Jobs does not make me more productive (which I correlate to an adrenaline rush), but I get happy – at which point the Endorphins kick in.

So as an entrepreneur, I am constantly fighting the battle between having moments of fun throughout the day (let’s say 5-10 min every hour) or having lots of fun for an extended period (say 30 min every evening).

For most of my working life as an entrepreneur I have vacillated between the two. I can imagine that at big companies, the bosses want you to be productive so they cut off Internet access or access to things that are fun (I don’t mean that kind of fun, I mean PG13 fun), like facebook.

I realize now that for me (and I suspect most people in technology) periods of intense focus and concentration cannot last many hours. I suspect this is the main reason for the origin of the 1 hour meeting.

So I have followed the method to get small bouts of endorphins (Facebook for 2-3 min every 2 hours) with a good adrenalin rush (getting work done).

This week, though I am trying the alternative, delayed gratification strategy. This equates to 1 hour a day of reading news, blogs, facebook, twitter. My phone is on silent, so I am not disturbed during the day. I am returning phone calls that I missed 3 times a day only and checking email 3 times daily.

While it’s too early to tell (this is day 1) I get a sense that the endorphin rush all day in small bouts is more suited towards my style. I intend to watch this all week and then decide if parts or all of the new approach is better.

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