Pebbles or rocks? How to produce a big work


Pebble production is the quick hit of the ball over the net. Short gulps. Tweets, emails, texts, Facebook updates. None of these take much time at all.

Then there is slightly larger production: blog posts for example. We can call these river stones. River stone production takes a little more time but still can be snuck in all kinds of spots in a busy day. I know this to be true – it’s how I’m writing this.

Neither add up to a big work – a book, an album, a screenplay, a speech, a house built, touching someone’s life, raising a child, your life lived fully alive.

The big work, the deep work, can be thought of as rock production. Rocks are big. Rocks take a lot of space. They have more lasting value and will do more good (or damage) than a pebble.

I’ve written five books. I’ve recorded three albums. Each of those ‘rock productions’ required me to sink below the busy surface world and dive down for extended, uninterrupted time. It meant more time all in one block, more energy reserved for that time, and less consumption of the external world.

Deep work and deep production need deep space, deep time and deep energy. Book a block of days this year for something big you’re meant to give the world.

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