In this excellent post, Seth Godin grabs us by the shoulders and asks, “Are you making something?”
In his usually astute way, he notices a major problem with the way makers and knowledge workers work.
…we’re often using precisely the same device to do our work as we are to distract ourselves from our work.
He offers a simple, but bold solution: don’t use your computer for anything except making. Use something else, perhaps an iPad, for shopping, gaming, social networking.
As a technology professional, I can think of a number of ways to accomplish the same result, though Seth’s suggestion has at its core a very important concept: setting boundaries. Unless we have a certain amount of focus and discipline, not popular words in our culture, our effectiveness will dwindle to zero.
While Seth’s solution is perfectly valid, consider these other ways to protect your effectiveness:
- If you are using a Mac, (and if you seek simplicity and effectiveness you should be) set up another User account for specific tasks
- Disable anything on your computer that has a badge in the dock, an audio alert, or a pop-up notification (Growl is the enemy)
- Silence your Smartphone and/or iPad and keep them out of sight
- Use timers such as Minuteur or Pester
- More and more applications are now offering “full-screen mode”. Use it.
- Consider having separate physical locations for work and play even it’s opposite ends of your desk or office
- Learn how to use Mac OS X “Spaces” to maintain focus
- Coordinate uninterruptible times with your boss and colleagues
- Wear headphones or have some other visual clue that you are not to be interrupted
These are just a few ideas off the top of my head. Add your own below in the comments.
As Seth says, “Go, make something. We need it!”
[And be sure to check out Part I here: To Technology! The Cause of and Solution to All of Life’s Problems.]