Maria then discussed her research on sleep and productivity. In researching famous writers’ sleep habits vs. literary productivity, she found that late risers write more but win less awards compared to the early risers – quality over quantity. You can read about her research at j.mp/sleepviz (illustrations are by Wendy Macnaughton).However while it is important to show up, it is equally important to be present. Presence and productivity, not work-life balance, is the key to achieving creative success. She doesn’t like the phrase, “work-life balance,” because it implies that work is bad while life is good, and one needs to balance the two. Work-life balance is the delicate balance between presence and productivity. Maria summed up her point with, “Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity.” In our culture, we tend to think of life as a series of tasks, which makes it easy to show up while being absent. We mistake doing for being. She closed her talk by having us ask ourselves, if how I spent today is how I will spend the last of my days, would I be happy, fulfilled and feel sense of purpose? How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. Does this cosmic day indicate a good life?
– By Diana Banh @dibanh