Do you ever experience a lack of focus or flow when working on a project or doing administrative tasks? Do you look at the clock on the computer screen every so often, flip back and forth between your phone and computer, and perhaps maybe get some work done?
Here’s a little exercise I tried to see if I could focus my mind and get work done one afternoon when I couldn’t seem to start anything productive.
Try this one little exercise for a creative, focused afternoon. Watch your productivity double.
Here’s what to do: Cover all time keepers (clocks, etc.). Do not keep track of time. Cover the corner of your laptop with a post-it note. Ditch the phone. Don’t pay attention to how long videos are. Put yourself outside the mechanics of time of today’s society.
Take charge of your work. It’s not about how you spend your time. It’s about how you spend your life.
I did this exercise in college as part of an anthropology assignment in college. My freshman year, I had a professor give us this assignment: we were not to look at clocks for at least four hours. It was a little hard at first. I covered my microwave clock, I couldn’t use my phone, and I didn’t wear a watch that day.
We learned that time itself is a cultural construction. People and cultures use time in so many ways. While yes, time is a real thing and it can be measured, in some cultures, it can be arbitrary. We no longer live by when the sun comes up and goes down. We have electricity to keep us going. We have Google Calendar to remind us of every detail of our schedule. Yet how can we be productive if we are waiting for the next meeting to happen or if we’re waiting for it to be five o’clock?
Let’s not think about time for a moment. Let’s just do stuff.
One thing I’ve learned is that there is always more time to get something done, to improve, or to better ourselves. Nothing has to be perfect. Let’s stop giving ourselves deadlines on our perfection. Sometimes we can’t produce our best work at a specific time. Sometimes we can. But it’s up to us to realize that in the bigger picture, time doesn’t matter.
Should we pay attention to the clock?
It makes me wonder how necessary it is to focus on time during our day-to-day schedules. Perhaps escaping it will provide much more room for creativity. For productivity.
Earlier last year I wrote a post about how schedules boost creativity. This can seem contradictory. But perhaps, we need to find a balance in between scheduling ourselves crazy and not adding any structure to our time. Perhaps we need to schedule some time away from time itself.
This could be taking a phone fast or a social media detox. It could mean going deeper with your creativity and taking a risk–actually writing that idea down. Actually pressing record on that video.
Your creativity doesn’t exist within the cultural and societal constrains of time.Your creativity doesn't exist within the cultural and societal constrains of time. Click To Tweet
Go with its flow.
It could mean a healthier, brighter creative life. Want to try it with me?