Productive Hours

I have read that you only do four really productive hours at work each day. In offices, at least, distractions from colleagues, noise, emails, phone calls, meetings, even coffee breaks, prevent you from getting stuck into the hard graft of what your job actually entails. So maybe you get even less productive time than that.

Many of those distractions are still there when you work for yourself and I concur with the four hour model. I’ve certainly had lots of opportunity for distraction in my studio. I would rather consciously do four really good hours than remain at work for six or seven mediocre ones, which I am fairly sure is all I am achieving, at best, at the moment. Too many distractions and too much head clutter thanks to the politics at work have been ruining my productivity for quite some time now.

As a consequence, I feel like I am always treading water and I never quite get anything done to my satisfaction. If I set myself a purposeful four hour a day target in two slots, I could see this being a more workable and productive timetable. That break in the middle could be for my run (getting outside and exercising are great for refocusing), or a trip into town to do errands such as banking and posting my sales at the post office, even doing the weekly shop when the supermarket is quiet instead of when everyone else is in there.

If I start my work day at 10, stop at 12, start again at two and work until four, that’s a day, right? Of course, I hear what you’re saying. I just want the easy life. But for one week, log all the really productive hours you spend at your job, I mean ACTUALLY doing your job, and see what’s on the page on Friday afternoon. A four hour day isn’t trying to get out of work. It’s working with what the brain needs to be at its best. I work well in short focused chunks. I can’t sew for 7 hours a day. It would destroy my eyesight for a start. You can’t switch on creativity and design like that. Creativity is by its own nature non-conventional. It ebbs and flows. That is the beauty of it. It doesn’t need to fit in and do what it’s told. It just is.

Once I have settled into my new studio, this is the approach I am going to work with and we’ll see how things progress from there. The count down is on. I am less than a week away from a new way of life and I’m looking forward to it with trepidation.


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