This is an interesting and thought provoking idea:
My daily routine consists of waking up around 6AM, listening to the news on Radio 4, and then going to run a bath. While the bath is filling, I usually start the computer, login to check my blog stats and check the messages on facebook and twitter that might have come in from my friends in other time zones. The running bath sets a very useful time limit on this time. If I stay online too long, there will be a flood. There have been no floods to date.
Similarly, when I get home from my long commute, I trawl through emails, facebook posts on my timeline, twitter posts on my timeline, forum posts in forums I care about and so on. It doesn’t take very long, though it can take hours if I let it. When the television is on, I sometimes keep one eye on that and the other on my social networking timelines. It’s more likely that I will be tweeting or posting, when the television programme is boring. I guess I gravitate to this mode because it’s a way to feel connected and not feel bored. But there is a price to pay.
Seth is right. Your most productive time is probably just when you wake up and just when you get in, of an evening, assuming you have a day job and can only do your creative works in your free time. If you have the luxury of working on your art all day, the problem of facebook, twitter and television, or any other distraction, is just as real. It’s all too easy to squander your productive moments reacting to or interacting with everybody else, instead of being proactive with your own direction and projects.
If you are an artist, or thought leader, or anybody that blazes their own trail as a way-seer, people expect you to be setting the agenda, defining the future, coming up with something new, planning a better mousetrap, writing amazing software, writing cool songs, etc. If you use your most productive hours listening, instead of defining the way forward, you’re not going to get around to doing what you set out to do. Even if you do, you won’t be quite as effective.
What you *should* do is set out your plans, or do one small step toward your achieving your goals in those moments, driven on by a reminder to yourself of why you are doing what you decided to do. Focus on the why, not the what. Use those productive moments to set out your own agenda, your master plan, your cultural movement, your revolution and your fresh ideas, and then take a little action on them. The time soon mounts up and you wind up with results.
Then you can look upon your social networking time as a sort of reward for a job well done, rather than a time waster and space filler. Instead of fighting boredom by trawling the social networks, forums and emails, you could, instead, feel enlivened by moving your own work forward, resorting to the less demanding tasks of interacting and listening, only when you are past your most productive times and need to slow down or rest.
I think I am going to try changing my routine to see if I can’t make some better plans or outlines in those times. A change is as good as a holiday and all I have to lose is my Klout score. Actually, I predict that having made some art will give me more real clout, in the world, than doing what the Klout site says you should do to achieve a high score. It’s all very well having a social media platform on which to showcase your work, express your opinions and influence others, but you have to have some work, opinions and a credible leadership position for any of that to be worthwhile.
I wonder if I can start a movement to Occupy Your Own Creative Time (or at least move in on Seth’s brilliant idea). OYOCT. Hmmm. Perhaps the title needs more work…