Distractions: The bane of productivity’s existence

Over the weekend I read an incredible article about batching time, productivity, and the evil of working with the internet: distraction. (read the article here) I’ve been meaning to write about motivation + productivity for a while now, and this article just really articulated what I seem to do naturally without even realizing it.

When the workflow with Flosites is really crunchy and deadlines are so tight you feel like you’re reliving some spandex nightmare, I really have to crank it out. There is no Skype logged in, no iChat,–– and for the total love of productivity, no Facebook!

So how do I stay on track? The writer in the article uses strict guidelines and time slots to regiment his day– but I can’t go for that either. Instead I rely on my favorite system of time and project management… the list! At the end of every day I review the list of the tasks I set out to complete, and if I end up missing a few, those tasks were plopped over right on to the new task list of tomorrow morning.

Ah, tomorrow, the optimist’s paradise.

But seriously, keeping a list of tasks that need to get done is the only way I will guarantee I will even remember that certain things needed to be considered in the first place. My Calendar has 18 separate calendars inside of it, all with a wonderful names like  “Change that  cat litter” to “Blogposts you should probably write” and “jne does social networking”, which if you know me, you know I stink at keeping up with social networking. I guess I’m too busy making lists?

Along with my list (and obsessive collection of notebooks), there’s also a few routine-y type things I keep in my roster to help keep me focused and motivated.  These are usually comfort things to help my brain get right into work mode, keeping a warm comfy sweater at my desk, a solid hour long mashup from my favorite DJ (always inspiring when I need to get straight to design), or my favorite jazz album (this is best when I need to think, research, or write a fascinating blog post on motivation! Hey!), and I’m sure by now, my clients are used to the fact that I like morning meetings – it really helps me focus for the rest of the day, and it snaps me right out of morning mood time, but whatever it is , it really is personal to what will work best for you.

The thing about motivation is that it really centers on whatever it is you are most passionate about. I learned a loooooooooong time ago that people truly do whatever it is they want most to do. I love designing (and talking, writing, sewing, doodling….) so it’s super easy for me to get myself motivated to work everyday. I love what I do, and while it’s true that no one is lording over me micro-managing my life away in a cubicle, I still have to wake up early and face the issues of the day, and through the trials of figuring it out, I have found a really organic and workable solution for me to getting everything I need to get done, done.

So my advice? Keep on keeping on. A lot of the time motivation is more about momentum, the more you do something the easier it is to keep doing it. So with anything, be it designing the best logo you can, running a 5k in 6 weeks, whatever the thing is, keep on it. You’ll get there if you just keep on it… but maybe keep a notebook in your pocket just in case.

Until next time!

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