Monday, February 2, 2009


Posted by Peg in South Carolina

“When you observe behavior that appears motivated and disciplined, you can always trace it back to the choice to simply put a focus on one thing versus another.”

This is written by David Allen in a recent issue of his newsletter. “Productivity Principles.” It is the concluding sentence to his brief essay on his “Productivity Principle #78”: Direction is more productive than discipline.

I couldn’t resist pulling out the above quotation because it correlated so nicely with my earlier post, Focus. I am motivated in my weaving and I am disciplined. What I had not put together was that it was my focusing on a particular area of weaving that helped to provide that motivation and that discipline. So perhaps, for me at least, direction/focus is more productive than discipline.

This does not mean that I don’t have other fiber activities going on, and other activities in different areas as well. I spend my time on many things other than weaving. But when it comes to the time I allot to weaving, that time is highly directed.

I remember the story of a woman who planted a handful of daffodils each fall. At first her neighbors laughed at her. Such an insignificant number of bulbs. Hardly worth bothering about. But as the years passed, her display of daffodils became more and more glorious and her neighbors stopped laughing and started admiring instead.

I subscribe to the David Allen newsletter. For those who have not heard of him, he is the author of an idea he calls “Getting Things Done,” fondly known as GTD. He has a rather elaborate procedure to enable the getting done of things and has written books on the subject. I have tried it and found bits of it useful, though by no means have I implemented the whole thing.

To learn more about David Allen and GTD, go to his website. You can also subscribe to his email newsletter there.

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"Focus: A Postscript" was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on February 2, 2009. ©2009 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


Dorothy said...

I like the daffodils story.

I guess this is about what can be achieved if you just keep steadily working on what you want to do (focus) but do so at a comfortable rate. Personally, I think if you push yourself too hard to be productive the creative idea can get lost (so don't impose discipline, let it evolve).

Leigh said...

I like the daffodil story too. And the quote by David Allen. I think the reason I like deadlines is because they force me to focus. It's easy when I'm already motivated, but when my enthusiasm wanes, an external source of motivation is very helpful. Wish I had the internal sort all the time.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Dorothy, I agree about pushing yourself too hard. Pushing yourself too hard gets you nowhere, just as pushing someone else too hard (especially your children!) gets you worse than nowhere.
Leigh, yes deadlines are very useful. I usually don't have any other than self-imposed deadlines, so when my enthusiasm wanes it is really primarily only habit that keeps me going.