If given the chance, pretty well everyone would choose to live a more productive life.
The problem is that it’s a lot easier said than done.
In fact, taking even the first step can be a big challenge.
If you sometimes struggle with knowing where to start on a big project or goal, I want to share with you a little nugget of wisdom that has helped me quite a bit—what I call the stick person strategy.
Drawing Badly as the Key to a More Productive Life?
I’m not very good at drawing.
I don’t think I’ve ever had the patience to learn the ins and outs of it.
But my kids loooove to draw. They’re always asking me to have drawing “contests” with them.
When we started drawing together a few years ago, I was much better than they were. They had a hard time drawing a straight line. And if there’s one thing I can draw, it’s a line.
But, over the past few years, my two oldest kids have become really good. And I mean really good.
I still draw with them, but it’s mostly become a way for me to keep my ego in check.
They’re waaay better than I am.
Now, if they ever wanted to have a stick person drawing contest with me, that would be a different story.
I think I would still have a legitimate shot at victory.
That’s because drawing stick people is easy.
When it comes to drawing dogs, trees, or Pikachu, my limited drawing abilities are immediately overwhelmed by the details.
But drawing stick people is straightforward. It seems more manageable and doable to me.
And there’s more wisdom in this story than it might first appear.
Stick People as the Secret First Step
A while back I was speaking with a guy who draws illustrations for graphic novels.
And he told me something that really surprised me.
He told me that he begins his drawings for every novel with stick people because it’s a quick and easy way to get himself going.
When he draws out the whole novel with stick people, he gives himself a clear visual to use when he sits down to draw the real thing.
I find myself thinking about that conversation often, especially when I sit down to draw with my kids.
It makes me feel less embarrassed about my drawing ability (or lack thereof).
But, more importantly, there’s a lesson in there that directly addresses taking the first step to living a more productive life.
The First Step to a More Productive Life
The lesson is this: Sometimes you need to do the easy thing just so you can get rolling—even if it’s hard to see how that thing helps to get you where you want to go.
The easy thing for you might be getting to your desk five minutes earlier, or reading one page of the novel you’ve been putting off, or putting on your running shoes.
The first step to living a more productive life will often look like it couldn’t possibly help.
But it can.
Just like how a comic book of stick people looks nothing like the finished product. So also, your first step might look very different from the ultimate goal you have.
But, more often than not, it will help get you there, if you take it.
So, what’s your first step? What’s the stick person in your world that will help you live a more productive life?