Dustin posted an article about Personal Productivity in the 21st Century over at Lifehack. I was going to comment on it on the blog, but my commentary got a bit long, so I decided a trackback would be better suited.
As I blog more and more and try to get more traffic, the “cash value” of the ideas I’m thinking or writing about becomes more and more of a nagging question, and, honestly, that scares me. Some things that we write and think about just shouldn’t be monetized or driven by the market. So I get stuck on this one: I hope this blog provides genuinely valuable content to people, yet at the same time I sometimes just want this blog to be about the playing with ideas.
The greatest issue I have with my own personal productivity is not getting things done, but rather figuring out which muses to chase and which to let go. Dustin’s comment about rigid scheduling vs. park sitting rang rather true on this one, because if I were to plan my day down to the 15 minute interval, I’m rather sure that some of the most creative and important ideas that I would have would die on the petard of the schedule. Yet, if I don’t stick to a somewhat realistic schedule, I generate more open projects that I’ll never close.
Lastly, when you shift from being an hourly or salary worker to a knowledge worker, there comes a point in which it’s hard to figure out what your time is worth. On some days, when the muses or flow is with me, one hour of writing, brainstorming, or idea generating can equate to days or weeks of thinking. A further complication, related to the first issue, is that it becomes hard to determine whether the process of generating ideas just to generate ideas has a certain value or whether it’s the generating of relevant, useful ideas that is valuable.
I’m going to run into this problem much more here in the next few months when I take a full-time Guard job for a while. The reason I will likely be hired for it is because of my creative, out-of-the-box but insanely efficient skillset; I’m a bit unorthodox by military standards, but I’m known to generate excellent products (this is not what I think about the products, but rather what my colleagues and superiors think about what I create). But I’m not sure that they’re ready for me to tell them that I’m going to need time to sit outside on a park bench so that I can come up with the product that they want. They want the product, but they don’t necessarily like the way that I come up with the product. Oh, that I live in so many different worlds!
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