150: Optimize for Intentionality

1 Like

I would like to respond to what Mike said around the 10 minute mark of the podcast. He said that “you are not the things that you produce. You are not the work that you do.” I agree that your total self worth shouldn’t be wrapped up in your work, but I do think it is very important to make an impact in the world. I think it is psychologically important to actively work on something that is tangible and visible to the outside world.

I’ll give a recent example from my own life. At the start of the pandemic, I spent a lot of my free time just watching videos and consuming news. I was feeling pretty crummy about myself and the world. My wife suggested that I spend more time doing something productive instead of passively consuming media and news. I decided to spend my free time learning to write iOS apps, which I’ve wanted to do for years, but kept putting off. So I did that and spent more of my time writing code and learning all the technology behind iOS.

My wife was right, creating something, even if it is just for my friends and family is way more rewarding than being a passive consumer of media and being an expert on the latest news topic.

David often talks about how proud he is when he finishes a new field guide. I think if you decided to read every article in the newspaper and become an expert on current events instead of creating a new field guide, you would feel bad about yourself. I don’t think it is correct to say it doesn’t matter how you spend your time, as long as you are intentional about it.


I completely agree! People are the reason for productivity.

1 Like

I find my procrastination and lack of focus happens mainly in my work when I’m uninterested. A lot of things have happened in the jobby job to get me stuck in a rut. After 20 years of doing the same work it’s hard for me to get my drive and desire back. There’s lots of periphery to my job that I love and it’s esay for me to get my focus on that 20%, but it’s the main 80% that gets me stuck. Every time I try to move on, I have an extreme amount of flexibility in my job, something pulls me back.

However, @MacSparky welcome to the hand tool woodworking club. Almost 10 years ago I wanted to get into woodworking as a way of working with my hands and producing something. At the time, I didn’t have any real dedicated space so I found the whole world of hand tools. It’s just stuck ever since. There’s a great community over the The Hand Tools School. I’ve been a member of the apprentices there for over 3 years now and love it. Chris Schwarz and Megan Fitzpatrick at Lost Art Press and the folks at Mortise & Tenon are also doing wonderful things to keep the tradition alive.

It’s that way for me to unfocus on the jobby job, but focus on making something meaningful. Depending on what I’m making I can usually churn out 6-10 projects in a year. Right now I’m just finishing the mirrors for a bathroom remodel. One of my favorites I’ve made in the past year.

I’ve also made everything from little boxes, to book shelves, to tables big and small with nothing by saws, planes, and chisels.