When I was a kid, I went fishing a lot. Sometimes the Jon boats I wanted to use were full of water after heavy rains. Lifting even a small boat that is half-full of water is an impossible task even for a few strong guys working together. It can bend the aluminum hull too. In other words, it’s a bad idea.

Work smarter, not harder

My dad taught me the age-old trick of siphoning. Ingredients: hose and a little patience.

The trick is getting the hose fully submerged and getting as much air out of the hose as possible. Once the hose is flooded, you can put your thumb over one end, take it out, and position it below the water level of the boat. Release, and let physics take over.

As a young kid, I thought this was nothing short of wizardry.

Watching the boat magically drain without the aid of electricity or gasoline was as much fun as the fishing we would do later.

Siphoning was the ideal solution to the problem:

  • It was fun to do
  • It made use of simple, already-available tools
  • It worked

It was an enjoyable means to an end.

Breaking the seal in your workflow

We all get stuck in our workflows sometimes. Maybe it’s writer’s block. Maybe it’s an abstract project with no obvious next step. Maybe it’s just boredom.

The key to overcoming obstacles is to 1) make it fun to beat them and 2) break your productivity seal. We all know that feeling when things start clicking. “The zone,” as it were.

I like finding ways of making it fun to beat obstacles. For me, it’s usually about walking a different path, changing scenery, or creating a new process. Sometimes just walking away for a bit is enough.

For me, the process is the most enjoyable part of a workflow anyway. When I meet my goals, the fun is over.

How do you break the seal in your workflows?