Jonas Downey, from Basecamp, shared an article this morning about his experience in creative work. I agree 100%. You can read his full article, which I highly recommend.
“Start thinking about productivity in terms of quality time instead of clock time. You might end up making the same progress with only 20 energetic hours that you would have made in 60 tired hours.”
In creative work I’ve found that 2-4 good hours is far more valuable than 8-12, if it’s the right time of day, and if you can set aside uninterrupted time for deep work.
“When you’re tired, distracted, or in the weeds on something, it’s usually better to stop working. Just admit (temporary) defeat and give yourself a chance to regroup. Do something else that’s less taxing, or call it quits and start again later.”
Agree 100%. Pushing through and slogging is much different than breaking through when you’re in the flow.
When you enjoy your work there can be a natural bent towards encouraging it to become all absorbing. This can also happen if things are going very wrong at work.
Last week I was really inspired by a book from the guys at Basecamp. This, along with the writings of Cal Newport, has given me the head knowledge to recognize the need for setting boundaries in my work and my life. However, an intellectual acceptance of something, and even at times wholehearted actions to take things in that direction, isn’t always enough. It’s easy to get busy, to get into your work and not come up for air.
Over the past two weeks I’ve gone back to practicing a separation. On Friday afternoon I stop my work, and I don’t check email or Slack until Monday morning. In addition, each afternoon after work I turn off Slack and email (notifications especially, I don’t have those anymore) and don’t check until morning. If previous attempts at this are any indication, the most likely culprit for falling back into previous patterns is an upcoming event or deadline.
My goal is to see if I can identify the things that trip me up and work to prevent them. If I’m able to stop thinking about work when I’m away from it, I can focus on other things I care about; leaving me fresh and ready to tackle work again the next morning.
If you’re in Seattle on November 11th I’d love to say hello. I’ll be doing a talk at WordCamp Seattle at 11am on my experience contributing to WordPress Core as a non-developer. Last year I wrote about my initial experience, and now now I’ll be planning to expand on what’s happened since.
Let me tell you, it’s been an amazing ride! For years I’d had interest in helping out in the open source community and supporting the making of WordPress, but I wasn’t sure how to get started. That initial article highlighted the start of my journey.
Since then I’ve been able to help out across a few projects and make a different where I can providing design feedback and at times jumping in to do design work.
I want to share my experience to encourage others to get involved. There are folks from all kinds of backgrounds with wonderful expertise that they could offer to open source projects. A lot of times it takes a little encouragement to figure out how to get started.
Hope to see you there!