Creative Fire Extinguisher #7 – Wasting Time

Every improvement in productivity seems to carry with it the risk of waisted time. In today’s world, interruptions have become enemy number one to effectively letting your creative juices flow.

Our desk used to have two primary sources of interruption. The visit and the phone. And really only one source of outside distraction, the magazine. Often we had to physically remove ourselves from our desk and head to the coffee machine to really avoid work.

Now the machine that many of us depend on to get things done also provides multiple sources of distraction that one could argue are job related (IM, email, surfing, feeds…) and not job related (games, shopping, music, video…) not to mention the interesting distractions of viruses and breakdowns. Since many of these items can be set up to be intrusive, the ability to get a half-hour of uninterrupted think time becomes next to impossible. And yet justified because so many of the interruptions involve moving work along.

So now I’ve set you up on a teeter-totter – CFE #6 is being too productive and CFE #7 is wasting time. Where’s the balance? It is in that uninterrupted thought time. Maybe half-an-hour, maybe half-a-day. It’s the time to let your brain get ahead of all the problems being thrown at it and find a better way of catching and handling them.

Wrapping up – a great way to kill creative fire is to distract yourself every minute of the day with things that can wait till later.

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