Slow Productivity vs. Juggling Chainsaws

Jesse J. Anderson

— 1 min read

Slow Productivity vs. Juggling Chainsaws

Hey friend,

I recently started reading this really interesting book called Slow Productivity by Cal Newport (you might know him from Deep Work, his other book which I purchased years ago and then forgot to ever open).

Now immediately my guard is up for any book about productivity that isn’t specifically written for people with ADHD. Too much productivity advice is built around shame/guilt, and the advice usually doesn’t work for ADHDers anyways—no thanks.

But this isn’t really that type of productivity book, as you might guess from the name.

The central idea for “slow productivity” is based on three principles:

  1. Do fewer things.
  2. Work at a natural pace.
  3. Obsess over quality.

On one hand, this sounds pretty nice! On the other, my warning alarms are going off a bit. I’ve got no problem obsessing over quality (perfectionism for the “win”?), but I’m not sure if my natural pace is compatible with Cal is suggesting. My general pace isn’t exactly described as “natural”.

And then there’s “do fewer things”.

Do Fewer Things

I’ve struggled with doing too many things for most of my life. I often refer to it as juggling chainsaws. I have a complicated relationship with doing too much because in all honesty, sometimes that manic energy of managing too many things can be motivating!

Yes, it’s a bit chaotic. And yes, it’s probably a quicker path to burnout. But it’s certainly worked for me to get that elusive motivation mojo at different times in my life.

I thrive in a crisis, so sometimes I think I turn my life into a crisis just to feel like I can rise to the occasion.


That said… focusing on just a few things, at my own personal natural pace, and getting to obsess over doing them well.

Well, that does sound nice.

Stay focused,
Jesse J. Anderson