I wish I could take credit for the insight, but I can’t. This is one of the observations shared by Jason Fried in the video below.
Incidentally, Jason is one of the people I really pay attention to when thinking about business. He is one of the founders of 37Signals.com. He is also the co-author of Rework, one of my favorite business books. And he is the co-author of a second book, Remote: Office Not Required, which I have pre-ordered and is slated for publication later this year.
In the video he makes a number of points about getting work done. But the point I want to share with you is the one he makes about comparing sleep to work.
When you nod off, you don’t instantly arrive in a state of deep, blissful, restorative sleep. You move through different stages of sleep. And to get to the really good part, you have to move through the parts that precede it. And as Jason points out, if you wake up several times during the night, for whatever reason, you can’t immediately get back to that place of deep restorative sleep. You have to go down through all the stages again.
In other words, interrupted sleep is not very good sleep. You lose a lot more than just the few minutes when you woke up.
It’s the same with work. Jason points out how in offices people are constantly interrupted by managers and meetings.
Again, it not just the time of the interruption that is lost. What is also lost is the time it takes for everyone to get back into focus on their tasks, sink down through various levels of concentration and finally get to the point when they are doing good, meaningful work.
Interruptions are poison. A one minute interruption can cost 15 minutes or more in getting back to that state of flow.
For you and me, as freelancers working from home, interruptions by co-workers are not a problem. But we can and do voluntarily interrupt ourselves with frivolous distractions – whether that be checking Facebook or going to the kitchen to grab a cookie.
And this why, as any of my coaching clients will tell you, I am a fierce proponent of creating blocks of time during your day when you commit to zero interruptions. Myself, I carve out a two hour block in the morning and two hour block in the afternoon.
During these periods I sink into work. No phone, no email, no social media, and no cookies.
In the same way that you only get a great night’s sleep when it is uninterrupted, you’ll also only do good work when it’s uninterrupted.
Try my zero interruption approach, and let me know how it works for you.
And enjoy the video.
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…
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