Is Productivity Killing Your Creativity?
A worthy read from Jay Fields, a software engineer with a passion for discovering and maturing innovative solutions.
How often do you find yourself mindlessly swiping, tapping, and typing on your cellphone? While we’re all guilty of filling moments with these distractions, they may be killing concentration and thought. Jay Fields explains how a few small tech changes saved his creative brain power. I listen to audio books while I work out. I’ve been known to leave earworms ‘Rapid Italian’ on while trying to go to sleep. I read books on trains. I answer emails while eating dinner. I clear out my Google Reader while watching TV with my wife. I wanted to learn Ruby and Blackjack perfect strategy, so I wrote a perfect strategy simulator in Ruby. I’m a multi-tasking machine. I am the worlds most productive man, or so I liked to pretend.
About 4 years ago at a conference in São Paulo, Chad Fowler told the audience to delete every feed in their blog reader if they wanted to gain an incredible amount of productivity. I was appalled. I already believe that engineers don’t spend nearly enough time staying current, and Chad was telling the audience to spend even less time reading about current events. I had (and have) way too much respect for Chad to call bullshit, but I definitely didn’t agree. Then again, I’m aggressive about removing noise from my subscription list, so I chalked up the disagreement to him recommending that the audience remove what were likely very noisy subscription lists anyway – probably a net positive act.