Riding Waves of Productivity

Riding Waves of Productivity

I tend to discount inspiration. I wrote an article about it once because much of the time, it is used for an excuse.

Last week I wrote a series of posts that locked what I wanted to say. Some got Stumbled. Some got a lot of hits. But I am talking about the feeling of completeness when I know that the post I just finished was the best I could have done at the time, maybe even better. I reread some of them a few times, wondering how I could have written them.

Athletes speak of a zone. I am not much of an athlete any more, but it wasn't long ago I rode motorcycles. It's one of the only physical things I have done that causes my mind to go completely blank. To take a turn marked 30 MPH at three times the marked speed, every ounce of concentration has to be on what your body is doing at each split second.

Worries and fears must leave. There are no thoughts of what Monday at work is going to be like or if there is a cop waiting at the end of the turn or if this would be the time I would succeed in scraping a footpeg off.

For the first few months, I thought a motorcycle would fall over with a lean that close to the ground. It did not feel natural and I sat upright as possible. It was a heavy machine. I knocked it over a few times and it took everything I had to put it back on the kickstand. One day I just got it. I stopped thinking.

There are times when I write that it feels the same and last week I was in that zone. Some posts are straight forward. I can write them in whatever mood I am in except lazy. They convey information and not much more. Some are more in depth and require a little time and I can usually pull them off on most days. But some come out of my head a complete whole and this is where any type of tool slows me down, whether it be a pen or a keyboard. When I normally slow down posting on the weekend because of projects that needed attending, Last weekend, I went right on through.

By Sunday, I was getting what I can only explain as an adrenalin rush when I wrote, so I took a break and did not turn on the computer after noon that day. I have to do more than write. There are other things to do and I have made the mistake of riding a wave too long and burning out at the end.

By Sunday night, I became paranoid that it was a one time thing. I didn't post Monday. I half-ass posted Tuesday. By Tuesday night, I called bullshit and wrote this.

Shifting gears is a bitch and the more hats I wear, the more I must become accustomed to it. So staying in one zone too long means other things are being neglected. But there is fear, that by shutting off the flow I broke something, each and every time.

So now I have a love/hate relationship with inspiration. On the one hand, I get a lot done if stick to schedule. On the other, my schedule is so limited that the time available for this type of productive marathon writing is non-existent. I know when I am in that zone, but sticking to it can send a lot of stuff to the back burner by default.

Of course, it comes down to just doing it in the end. But intense bursts can be nice.

Stephan Miller

Written by

Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

Twitter | Github | LinkedIn