My computer has a curfew from 9:00 pm through the first 2 hours of the next morning.
It’s not in trouble. It’s not grounded, nothing punitive at all.
My self-imposed computer curfew boosts my creativity and productivity.
The reasons are simple and straightforward. The restriction helps me:
- avoid mental clutter, because my best ideas frequently arrive early in the day.
- facilitate deep-thinking while all is quiet.
- process and evaluate at day’s end.
So how’s that look?
It’s not complicated, really. The first two hours of my day are computer-free. In the quiet of early morning, I enjoy capturing ideas and starting projects with a legal pad and a favorite pen*.
I work my notebook hard through the day and close the lid at 9 pm.
There was a time when I’d wake up, my notebook still on from the day before, and multitask my way through my morning routine. The distraction quotient was pretty high. I’d write at my computer until I’d nearly fall asleep (OK, put a line through “nearly”), close the lid and fall into bed. First thoughts the next morning frequently replayed what I wrote or edited last thing the night before.
Hmmm, I thought. That’s noteworthy.
Not wanting last night to affect the next morning by default, I imposed the curfew.
1) Sharper focus
2) Increased creativity
3) Heightened intentionality
The results speak for themselves. Creativity flows.
Unlike my web browser, my legal pad has no open tabs waiting to distract.
I have greater control over my thought processes.
When I start the computer, I’m in motion, with momentum.
When I close it down at night, there’s something satisfying about thinking “Wait till tomorrow,” knowing I have time to introduce to my mind what I want my subconscious to play with or work on while I sleep. It might be something I read, a hard-copy review of something I’m editing, thoughts that arrive while I gaze into the night sky, or nothing at all to do with the business of writing and speaking.
I like the results this little discipline tactic brings.
Am I telling you to do likewise? Mmmm, no, not really. Unless you’re wondering if your mind could use a serious defrag, that is, or you feel like your notebook owns you, instead of you owning it. My computer’s curfew/ blackout is a technique I use to maximize my productivity. I’d love to read your success stories, observations, and questions in the comments below.
*My three favorite pens:
– Pilot G2 Limited with Precise V5 refill,
– Pentel Energel – Teal,
– Namiki retractable fountain pen