Workable #18: Keep Office Hours

You can write, or you can stare out the window. That's all…

Workable #18: Keep Office Hours
Photo by Morgan Housel / Unsplash

Episode #366 of Tim Ferris's podcast is an absolute gem. I suggest you give it a listen, but I'm going to pull out a highlight from it that can help just about anyone who is looking to hone their practice. I call this: Keeping office hours.

Neil Gaiman — The Interview I’ve Waited 20 Years to Do (#366)
“The biggest problem we run into is going, ‘This is who I am, this is what I’m like, this is how I function’ while failing to notice that you don’t do that anymore.&#8…

During their conversation, Neil Gaiman tells Tim Ferris that he sets aside time for writing, and he has a very simple rule for this. When it's time to write, you have two choices:

  1. Write.
  2. Sit and do nothing.

That's it. You can write, or you can stare out the window.

I call this "keeping office hours," and I actually block it out in my calendar. You'll see things on my calendar like this:

It sounds simple, but it can be devilishly hard. We live in a world prone to distraction, a world where the attention economy is always vying for our precious minutes.

Don't let distractions keep you from practicing your art.

Put office hours on the calendar. Block it out. In the notes, write what you're hoping to do during that time. This guarantees that you have a place to start. Having a place to start will help you to keep your practice on track.


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