Blaise Pascal, the 17th century French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, inventor, and theologian once opined; “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
This is a powerful statement coming from a man who lived in the 1600’s! This was before any sort of modern technology that we take for granted today. Now we are at a time where it is becoming more and more difficult to disconnect from the constant barrage of emails, text messages, Facebook messages, LinkedIn updates, Instagram feeds, cell phone calls, etc., etc.! Our world is accelerating forward at a pace like never before.
As business leaders in today’s world, it is critical for us to lead by example. This means establishing boundaries so that we can be as productive as possible. When we lead by example, the people around us will take notice and begin to structure their work practices in a similar productive fashion.
What Do Productivity Boundaries Look Like?
The book review for this week is Hunch by Bernadette Jiwa.
Jiwa explains her thoughts and research behind; ideas, intuition, deep thought, rationality, questions, genius, and many other concepts commonly associated with breakthrough ideas.
In today’s distracted and plugged-in world where we can Google answers for anything, we are at risk of losing our ability for innovative thought. Jiwa does a great job of outlining techniques for reengaging our creativity and intuition and generating the next big thing by leveraging our everyday insights.
My takeaway from this book is Jiwa’s definition of a hunch.
How many times have you been distracted from your work on important activities and tasks by random ideas and thoughts?
These can be super-valuable ideas that you don’t want to lose but you also don’t want to be distracted from the task at hand! Robert Rodriguez (in Tribe of Mentors) calls these disruptive, yet potentially valuable ideas, Random Thought Missiles!
A Random Thought Missile can complete vaporize your focus on important tasks at hand. It can be disheartening when you block time in your calendar, shut off your phone, block out all electronic distractions, only to be interrupted and taken off track by these random thoughts.
Even as I sit down to write this post, my “deep work” thought process is constantly under attack by ideas for future posts, potential customer contacts, project delivery enhancements, and 100 other ideas. I cannot possibly investigate all these things and write the blog post at the same time!
So, what is the solution? How can you productively intercept and capture a Random Thought Missile without vaporizing your “deep work” focus and without losing the value that the random thought may contain?
The book review for this week is Deep Work by Cal Newport.
If you want to produce at your peak level, you need to work for extended periods of time on a single task without interruption. Newport calls this Deep Work.