The Physics of Productivity: Newton’s Laws of Getting Stuff Done

The Newtonian analogy may vex any physicists reading this but there’s some great productivity advice in this article:

Newton’s First Law of Productivity

First Law of Motion: An object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force. (i.e. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.)

In many ways procrastination is a fundamental law of the universe. It’s Newton’s first law applied to productivity. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.

The good news? It works the other way too. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. When it comes to being productive, this means one thing: the most important thing is to find a way to get started. Once you get started, it is much easier to stay in motion. [1]

physics of productivity first law

So, what’s the best way to get started when you are stuck procrastinating?

In my experience, the best rule of thumb for getting started is the 2-Minute Rule. [2]

Here’s the 2-Minute Rule adjusted for productivity: To overcome procrastination, find a way to start your task in less than two minutes.

Read the full article here for the other two ‘laws’ of productivity. I thought the final one was probably the best. It’s certainly true in my own experience, though unfortunately rather difficult to implement in practice.

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