Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Success Secrets: Alone Time

Jason Fried of 37 Signals has articulated a key success secret in a recent post: set yourself a rule to make half of your day alone time. This means, as he says, weaning yourself from “communication addiction”. I can concur with his analysis that the vast bulk of productivity is accomplished alone. In my previous career, a creative field, the entire daylight portion of our workday was spent with clients, and we had to accomplish the bulk of our creative duties overnight, in preparation for the next day’s client meetings.

Quite a bit of psychological research suggests that we have a “learning curve” that kicks in while we are engaged in a certain activity. As the minutes go on, we get better at what we are doing. This means we derive additional value as we stay at a given task longer. I personally believe that in a creative or knowledge-based field, we produce increasing quality in our work as we reflect upon what we just did a minute ago. This can only be done if we have alone time to allow the “thread” of thought to spin out uninterrupted.

Turn the voicemail on. Take the laptop out of the office. Work from home. Go to the library (no one thinks of this one). And watch the ideas pour out.

By the way, I must credit Phil McKinney’s Killer Innovations Reblog for citing Jason Fried’s post.

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