If you run a business or just a household, or both, but also have some creative work that you do regularly that requires getting in the ‘zone’ I think you’ll appreciate this Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule article by Paul Graham that I discovered this week (it was in Amy Lynn Andrew’s Useletter, which is one of the few newsletters I actually read most weeks). This puts into words something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and finally deciding recently to put into practice. As a manager I can have meetings or deal with small details, juggle, multi-task, etc. And those are all things that need to happen. But as a writer, which is my version of ‘making’ or creating, I need to find blocks of time when I get really get in the zone and get lost in thought and the creative process. That is where the magic happens.
In the above article the author talks about how the different schedules operate out of different mindsets. I would say they also operate with different energy. And it’s not good vs bad, it’s just significantly different.
I am prepared to argue at length about the incredible value of the maker’s schedule and the creative process, and the necessity for depth in our world today, on so many levels. But I’m currently reading Deep Work, by Cal Newport so I’ll leave that for an upcoming post about the topic.
My kids just interrupted me for help with something on their nintendo switch, so I just want to say that I know for us moms that finding time to go deep and be in the zone feels daunting, but I believe it is achievable without stress, although it will be a process to get there. More on that later too.
So anyway, my point for the moment, after re-reading to see where I was, is that to do the creative work on our plates, we need to block out some time and treat it differently than the rest of the time when we do all of the managing. I love that in the article, he says that makers ‘prefer to use time in units of half a day at least’ and that an hour is ‘barely enough time to get started’. I wanted to yell ‘thank you! yes!’ at the computer screen when I read this on Monday.
My personal conclusion is that I need to unapologetically block out 2-4 hours a few times a week and work my life around that. I’ve found that I end up pushing my life into that schedule sometimes because I feel deep down that I need it. “Yes, you can watch 3 more episodes and eat goldfish for lunch if I can just stay in the zone for another hour!” If you’re a mom you know what I’m talking about, and if you have found your creative expression you’ve done this in some area of life.
What I’m proposing is that we more intentionally prioritize, and just generally make room for, the maker’s flow in our life, the creative energy that requires time to take a bit of a back seat while we tap into that divine energy inside us that manifests every time we’re doing our life’s work, that feeling you get when you get in the flow, lose track of time, write something and re-read it and think ‘wow, this is great, who wrote that, did I just write that, this is sweet, exactly what I was feeling, and I finally got it out’, etc.
And I think that thinking in terms of the manager’s schedule and maker’s schedule is a good way to help us reassess how we budget our time and schedule our days.
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