A wandering mind is a curious and powerful mind. Though, its curiosity and power can sometimes feel bewildering:
“This is interesting. No, wait, that’s interesting. What about this other thing?”
A random, shot-gun approach to the world, can lead to partially started projects littering the room and a feeling of defeat.
But when guided, this seeming randomness can instead be a wonderful asset.
Being of the wandering persuasion myself, I’ll play the piano, write about an application or workflow, see clients, read, hang out with the family, exercise, play a game or two, manage responsibilities, among other activities, all within the same day.
These things seemingly have little to do with one another. And yet, they are very much inter-related, each often supporting the other.
For example, years ago I’d play a real-time strategy game called Warcraft 3. Picture something like a game of chess in which gamers play simultaneously, in real-time. The winner is determined by whoever moves not only the fastest, but most efficiently, converting resources into units chosen well to counter their opponent’s.
Time is a vital factor.
In order to become quick, I learned and practiced key commands. I became quite adept at creating groups, sending them from one corner of the map elsewhere, selecting them and casting spells at my opponent.
I never became a professional, but I did become quite good. I believe much of that ability came from the piano. The speed I’d build into my fingers translated easily onto the computer’s keyboard and mouse.
Further, what I learned in playing the game, managing key commands while picturing an overall outcome, helped me become adept with programs like OmniFocus and DEVONthink.
But the same concept can go much deeper.
At the piano, I practice following an emotion in sound, allowing it to find purchase within individual notes. I both listen to understand and influence the emotion as I play.
That practice parallels speech. When talking, we shape an inner world, conveying what we can, melding spoken word and thought, driven by motivation to be discovered… and isn’t that the stuff of therapy?
By practicing one, I get better at the other.
Between the dry monikers of ”projects, tasks, and areas of responsibility”, we can pay attention to a North Star of play that resonates throughout. From and towards that center, we can find a rhythm to the day, where the work we involve ourselves in supports each other.
In this way, productivity is less about arranging a day’s tasks to fit some stretch of time. Instead, in an iterative approach, we can both explore and guide curiosity to build our days into a rhythm and harmony of ideas and actions, such that they support each other.
To learn more about the importance and practice of weaving play into productivity, consider either: