Saw this great video about Facebook’s development team today. Got me thinking…more companies need to think like this. Focused, uninterrupted work is the greatest gift you have…but how often do we really do it?
Generally speaking, if you are answering your phone, opening snail mail, chatting, emailing, even talking with other people at all…you are NOT working. Sorry to say it but you’re not. Work is when you are alone, by yourself in your room, with all communication devices turned off. 20 minutes later you’ll actually be in the zone and then you’re really working. That’s when you get real writing done. That’s when you can strategize about the next moves for your company. That’s when you can design great marketing. That’s when you can design great art or great engineering. That’s where breakthroughs happen. That’s when you see connections between completely different ideas and how they could be better together. That’s when you really produce instead of just reacting to things all day.
It’s a fragile state that you can be broken out of easily too with any sort of interruption. Doing this type of intense mental focus isn’t easy, and it’s quite rare to do it for 8 hours a day (it’s like sprinting for 8 hours a day - you’ll need a long recovery period). But it’s totally reasonable to do this for maybe 3 or 4 hours a day, staggered with periods of rest. Most people have huge mental routines to prepare themselves for these intense sessions, and we avoid them psychologically. Ok…first get coffee, then browse headlines, ok finally settling in for some work…put on favorite soundtrack…..avoid a dozen other temptations…and GO. And usually every 90 minutes or so you’ll have to break out of that state and take a mental breather for 20 minutes. You need the breaks to recover mentally and physically to keep blood sugar up etc. It’s a mental marathon. But it’s also the only way to get real work done.
Try to have more of these intense mental sessions every day on something you love and have the potential to one day be the best in the world at. It could be practicing guitar, or it could be building the next great web company. Stop talking about doing something and go do it today in an intense, focused session.