It’s nice to think that we do our best work irrespective of time, place, location and habit. That we produce what we produce regardless of the setup.
But we also know that it’s just as much the other way around.
With repetition, you, in a certain location at a certain time of day, produce a certain kind of work that has a certain quality. This might be work that you produce alone, with one other person, or with a team.
“This is what we do here at this time in this way.”
The production of great work is, as much as anything else, a learned behavior in response to our environment. Writers know this. Athletes know this. Artists know this.
That’s why that empty chair is calling out to you.
“Come here, today, and sit. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but if you do, we’ll do great things together.”
It’s summertime. If you’re not on vacation, then you’re probably making space for some bigger, longer-term projects.
Inevitably, our work time is split into two broad categories: the busy things we need to get through efficiently, and the labor that requires our thoughtful, soulful engagement.
We routinely struggle to create the right balance between the two, which is an important fight.
We also cannot forget that the qualities that serve us well in one area serve us poorly in the other. It’s great to be focused, urgent, and keeping an eye on the clock when tearing through our inbox. But striving to be driven, focused and efficient when we are engaging in bigger questions and in harder topics that don’t yield to quick and easy answers is, with due credit to Indiana Jones, like bringing a knife to a gun fight.
There’s no “hurrying up” when we’re working through big, complex problems.
Make the time, take the time, and don’t rush it.