Focus on Focus

I want to create. I want to do work that matters – work that contributes. But what I've found is that I sabotage myself. I let myself get distracted and carried away by other people's wants or needs. Phone calls, emails, tweets, and texts clamor for my attention, pulling my pant leg, pleading, 'hold me!'

In June of 2014 I went on a month long sabbatical and began thinking about working the right way. A way that allows for creation rather than reaction. Here's what I discovered, our brains work best if we work in time blocks of highly focused creative burst.

                                                                  Right click on image to download and share

                                                                  Right click on image to download and share

 

Creative work doesn't mean painting or drawing or anything artsy. It means that the work originates with you. It's your signature. For me that looks like writing a blog post, shooting photos, designing the user experience at Lightstock, or creating a piece of art in Illustrator. This is the work I must protect.

So with the help of others we created Focus Block Theory. Here's what a work day looks like:

9:00 - 10:00 AM (60 min) – Prep for the day

10:00 - 11:30 AM (90 min) – Creative Work

11:30 - 12:00 PM (30 min) – Free for All: Bathroom/Coffee

12:00 - 1:00 PM (60 min) – Lunch

Lunch 1:00 - 1:30 PM (30 min) – Free for All

1:30 - 3:00 PM (90 min) – Creative Work

3:00 - 3:15 PM (15 min) – Walk

3:15 - 4:15 PM (60 min) – Reactionary Work

4:15 - 4:30 PM (15 min) – Walk

4:30 - 5:00 PM (30 min) – Reactionary Work

Here are 3 reasons Focus Block Theory is making me a better creator:

  1. Focus Block Theory insulates my creative time from the tyranny of the urgent.
  2. Focus Block Theory protects my peak creative time.
  3. Focus Block Theory allows me to practice perseverance.

What do you think? Have you ever tried implementing a focused schedule? What are the pros and cons? Would love to hear from you.