Helping front office teams grow better

On spending time - #349

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've been a train commuter during the second half of this summer. First due to real construction in the basement; then due to reconstruction (and finally finishing?) the basement office. When I time it just right, the train and bike will take an hour each way. Commutes are a top driver of unhappiness, according to the social scientists, and it's not hard to see why: knowing you'll hand over two of your sixteen waking hours to repetitive travel isn't a good start to the day. While my train and bike are on the easier (and prettier) side of a Boston commute, I still end up, all those hours later, right where I started.Beyond the revolving nature of the time spent, the two hours are often time lost: I've been back on podcasts and music listening and Twitter. Opening the day in a frenetic tapping and scrolling for information sets me up for a day of lost focus. It got so bad earlier this week that I left the office for a midday walk. Having made no progress on some creative work, I put the challenge in my mind, left all devices behind, and walked around East Cambridge for a half hour. Musing on the challenge while moving, unaided by devices, helped. Upon returning to my desk, I immediately wrote a two page outline and then crafted the slide deck. Within an hour and a half of leaving my desk, walking time included, my part of the project was done.

On the other hand, the commute does change my end-of-day momentum: I've never been as productive between 2 and 4 p.m. as I am when trying to catch the 4:35 train home. There's nothing like a real time constraint to sharpen one's attention to the task at hand. You spend time differently when you have a destination.

For the reading this week, we have two interesting essays on spending time. Enjoy!



Filling Time Filling Minds

Recently, as my husband had just finished backing out of our driveway with our four-year-old in the car, she suddenly piped up with her little voice: "daddy, can I watch that movie again?"



Talking to Strangers

When I was a little girl, people often told me not to talk to strangers.