The past two weeks have taught me something important about myself. While I enjoy randomness and spontaneity, it just isn’t great for my productivity. If I allow my work life to be too chaotic, I maximize for creativity, but not for production. So, going forward, I’m going to focus on what type of work I need to do and structure the day to be conducive to that. If I’m working on something that needs creativity, I’ll minimize (not eliminate) the structure that I impose on the day in such a way that it forces me to get something done, but doesn’t stifle my creativity. If I need to crank out work that is more logic or process driven, I’ll structure the day rigidly because that helps me to get more work done.
One routine that I have added into my daily work schedule is background music from focus@will while I’m working. They have a great service that plays music that is scientifically designed to help you focus. It works great for me because I have become habituated to always listening to something. Usually, that means podcasts. Podcasts are death for most work though because it distracts me and drains necessary brain cycles. That’s why I skip podcasts while I’m working, but often I’ll pop the ear buds in when I’m doing something that allows for it. If it’s during my work day though, that results in me taking longer doing certain tasks because I don’t want to leave in the middle of a particular conversation. So, I have placed podcasts off limits.
Having music in the background that isn’t distracting though has been amazing. I don’t even think about turning on a podcast and I work much more quickly as well. So, focus@will has been a god send. They have a basic free service with some limits or a paid service that costs $3.99/month or $35/yr. It’s actually pretty reasonable and I think I might pony up the cash to support them if it continues to help me over the rest of this month. If you’re looking for an auditory tool to enhance your focus, give them a try.