170,000 circles. A reflection on what it is to be productive

“Relief from sadness and grief” 

That’s how artist Hiroyuki Doi described his monumental circle drawings following the death of his brother. Repetitive doodling appears to have other benefits too, with studies finding that most people retain more information and remain more focussed when doodling. 

This video is a genius reflection on what it is to be productive (in under four minutes)

When was the last time you did something ‘just because’? And how often are you judging yourself on what is or is not productive?

  • Writing? Productive if for an audience but otherwise not?
  • Podcast, email? Productive?
  • Twitter? None-productive?
  • Walking with your kids in the woods? It’s worthwhile for sure, but productive? You tell me.

This video is wonderful because it challenges your idea on what ‘productive’ is and it also asks you to pay a specific sort of attention to an unusual task. Not only that, it is a simple (and somehow mind-blowing) way of breaking down big numbers – which humans are notoriously bad at doing.

Worth a watch:

To add, I later learnt the relevance of the 170,000 circles – the number of Covid-19 deaths in the US at the point the video was created.



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If you have something on your mind, a challenge you’re wrestling with or just want an alternative point of view, I’d be very happy to lend an ear and maybe help you start to unpick the issues.