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Focusing Productivity: The Garden Hose Philosophy Part II

Posted on December 15, 2009 by Sean

Focusing Productivity: The Garden Hose Philosophy Part II

In my last post, I likened our lives’ productivity to that of a garden hose. While I believe that human life is exponentially more important than a garden hose, the metaphor (while imperfect) underlines some striking similarities.

And, if you’ll allow, I’ll continue.

If our lives, like garden hoses, are measured by their output, whether professionally, physically, relationally or spiritually, and we’ve taken care to refine the input, then it follows that the product must be carefully managed as well.

Our lives may be defined by their output, but they are refined by focus.

An unobstructed stream is useful for very little. The amount of water expended will likely drown plants and won’t do much for washing down a muddy fence. Even with pressure at full capacity, the water falls uselessly from the hose. If you’ve ever washed your car (the old-fashioned way) you’ve likely covered a portion of the hose’s opening, either via spray attachment or your finger (the real old-fashioned way.) The stream narrows, allowing for a higher pressure stream to spray further and with more accuracy.

What you’ve done here is focus the hose’s energy. The same amount of water has passed through the mouth of the hose, but because you’ve applied rules, routine and structure, it’s able to spray further and faster than it could have ever done without it. Again, the hose-similarities abound. No matter how much information is retained, the success of its transmission is determined not simply because it is applied, but by how skillfully it is applied. How tightly it has been focused.


  1. No matter her epicurean prowess, a writer will find herself facing a difficult battle if she attempts to write a book about food. The subject is simply too broad, too massive to tackle without applying some filter of focus.

  2. An overwhelming to-do list is likely to never get done. Bouncing between impending tasks de-focuses your energies and limits potential for success.

  3. The Office - The Injury

  4. Despite being technologically similar, you should not straighten your hair with a waffle-iron. Conversely, attempting to beautify your Belgian waffle is ill-advised. The two appliances are specific to their uses. For an appropriate, but not exact example of what happens when cooking utensil meets body part, click here.


What I’m learning is that when much of our day is spent in this “unfocused outpour,” we squander our potential for power and distance. It seems counter-productive, that in order to achieve we must constrain – but it’s proven.

We’re capable of expending vast amounts of energy and intellect, but without directing this potential, we’re wasting time pouring resources onto drowning plants.



Kohler is arguably one of the most innovative brands in the home improvement industry. The new Karbon faucet has completely transformed the kitchen and more specifically revolutionized the kitchen faucet. Meanwhile Kohler seems to effortlessly create bathroom fixtures that are not only sleek but save water, like the Escale toilet.

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