What Output Has to Do With Mental and Emotional Health

Jordan Brown

What should you focus your time on?

It's one of the great questions in life.

And it's especially true for any area of life in which you need to be productive and effective.

I'm not talking about Netflix--nobody wants to optimize their show-watching at 2X speed.

I'm talking about work. Family life. Learning new skills.

These are are all areas in which what you focus your time on truly matters.

And it matters not only for how well you develop a skill or complete a task.

It matters for your very sanity, for you overall mental and emotional well-being.

Output = Mental + Emotional Health

I read a lot of books that others might consider boring.

I love non-fiction. I love distilling wisdom from multiple areas to see how it connects back to mental health and to living a better life.

And I've been re-reading a management book lately call High Output Management. (Don't worry, I'm not going to recommend you read it and take a test about it.)

But I think it's actually fascinating to think about how a book by a former Intel CEO / engineer could apply to mental health. And what the author, Andy Grove, writes about over and over is the idea of output. He defines it and gives examples. He talks about how managers' output is the sum of their output plus the output of all the people they manage.

But what is output? And why does it matter for mental health?

Well, thinking about output makes you step back and consider what you are producing in life. What are your key tasks, and what actually results from those tasks?

Especially now, when life is in flux for many people, it's important to step back and honestly assess what kind of output you're producting.

I'll give you an output example. These issues I send you three times a week are one form of output for me. Three high-quality issues. If I don't write three issues, then I didn't do what I was supposed to do.

But what if I only spent my time tweeting or posting on Facebook? That could be considered output, but it wouldn't be the right output  for me. It wouldn't make me as happy, and it wouldn't be as valuable for the people who truly care about mental health information. You signed up for this list for a reason, and you are expecting to see results from your decision.

The people I happen to connect with on Facebook or Twitter didn't explicitly ask for the information I give them.

We'll all be happiest if I deliver on my promise to produce the right output for the right people.

What is Your Output?

So now I turn to you.

What's your output?

Are you focusing on the right output?

Have you ever even considered this before?

It's not bad if you haven't thought about this before. You don't know what you don't know.

So think about it now.

Stretch your brain to pull in ideas from different disciplines. Like mental health factors / concepts, all big ideas tend to connect together. Maybe something you do in one area of your life can lend an idea or two to what you do in another area. Perhaps the kinds of things you produce at home--like meals or family conversations--will show you what you need to do more of at work.

Keep an open mind, and you'll be amazed by the connections you find.

My goal is to introduce new ideas to help you consider your mental and emotional health in different, enlightening ways.

And in this case, if you choose the right output, you'll probably find that your happiness starts to align with what you do.

Let me know if you enjoyed this issue. I'm trying to draw in different ideas to give you new ways to look at mental health.