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The goose and the golden eggs

Everybody knows the story of the goose that laid a golden egg everyday until it's owner got greedy and decided to cut open the goose to get all the golden eggs at once rather than wait for it to go on laying one a day, only to realize that he had killed the goose that laid golden eggs with nothing to show for it.

Stephen Covey uses this story to introduce the concept of Production capacity and Production. He defines the desired results or the golden eggs as the production and the ability of the goose to lay them as the production capacity. He goes on to say that there is a desirable balance between the two that ought to be maintained for long-term results and it isn't possible to skew that balance and still continue to get the desired results for a long time.

I wrote a few days ago about active states and passive states, talking about the productivity cycles I experience where there are days / weeks when I can spend every waking minute learning something new or adding value to myself or others which are followed by periods of time when I'm purely consuming for entertainment and creating blank spaces for my active mind to recover and replenish it's energy.

This is an embodiment of the Production and Production Capacity principle that Stephen Covey puts across.

The ability to produce desired results comes at a certain frequency and working hard beyond that point has not just diminishing, but negative returns. And this has actually been proven in scientific studies where it has been observed that people were more productive when they worked thirty five hours a week than when they worked fifty hours a week.

The key to productivity is not blindly trying to cram in more things in the time that we have, but to understand our natural replenishment frequency (our production capacity) and striking the right balance. 

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