This is a bit of a trick question. You might think that doing the most productive thing at every given moment means that you should always be working or always doing something tangible that moves you closer to your goals. In reality, top achievers realize that there are numerous “things” they can do, that on the surface may not appear to move them closer to their goals, but in fact actually do.

Leonardo da Vinci, certainly one of the most successful, productive and prolific persons in history, approached productivity in a unique way. According to the 16th century writer Giorgio Vasari, as da Vinci was painting “The Last Supper,” he would sometimes spend half a day “lost in contemplation” and not make any visible painting progress.

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