What I Learned About Productivity From Moving from New York to Los Angeles

I’m writing this after an exhausting day packing a rental van for moving. Our daughter and son-in-law Kelsey and Chris have been living in New York City for the last 5 years performing regularly in musical theater. A few months ago they came back to LA for television’s “pilot season” and so many opportunities happened, they decided that it might be better to be based in Los Angeles and commute to New York for various projects. So Kathleen and I flew up last week to help them pack and load up.

While we were shoving their stuff into the van, the thought occurred to me that the big stuff matters the most. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it’s true. When packing a moving van you always place the largest furniture, appliances, mattresses, etc, and then everything else falls into place. You can stick the little things anywhere – between furniture, in empty spaces, or behind a seat.

It’s just as true about the projects that make up your career. The biggest stuff matters most. What’s that for you? For me, it’s our most important client projects, my next book, and speaking invitations. Phone calls, meetings, research, and other things are important, but don’t require long, uninterrupted stretches of time.

So when it comes to priorities and scheduling, I place those big things first. Either on Friday afternoon, or Sunday night, I look at the next week and schedule the big things. How much time do I need to finish that book? How much time to shoot that short film? How much time to prepare for that presentation?

Once those big things are in place, I can insert time for phone calls, meetings, and other things pretty easily.

What about you? Are you hurting the important projects in your life because you’re making time for the little things first? Big, uninterrupted blocks of time are critical to accomplish significant projects.

Sure, sweat the small stuff. But make sure the big things are taken care of first.

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  1. That is so true! I often find myself distracted with the little things that I don’t take the time to complete the major tasks. I believe it comes down to discipline and focus. After reading Jolt I’m getting better at prioritizing. Keep up the great work.

  2. When we were moved the first time professionally, we were surprised that they movers wanted the boxes first, then the furniture. The boxes, evidently, are denser and can be stacked more tightly packed, so they need to go as close as they can to the center of the wheelbase. the less dense furniture was loaded after the boxes.

    Same basic lesson. But we were counting on the time that they would be loading the furniture to finish packing the boxes. 8-0

    I guess my take away would be, make sure you know what the big stuff is, because if you aren’t ready for it, some of the small stuff can become big stuff.

    Or maybe I’m stretching this way too far. 😉

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