Cultivating distracted productivity

There is something really interesting and insightful in the latest issue of Alex Morris’s Strat Scraps newsletter (there is something interesting and insightful in pretty much every issue, so you should subscribe if you ever have to ‘do strategy’).

I won’t paste the whole thing in here, because it’s long, but the basic gist of it is: The best ideas/innovations/breakthroughs come during idleness; and ‘the best idleness’ happens on company time, i.e. when you’re at work but not working. As Alex puts it:

“Being paid for your time and not having anything to do creates a unique blend of distracted productivity.”

But if you’re freelance or working from home then, in moments of idleness, you are looking at your phone, or sat looking at that thing that needs repairing (or maybe even repairing it), or going into the kitchen to look in the fridge again, or taking the dog for a walk.

Paid for idle time is what we’re after. And I think this ties in (somehow…I’m not sure how yet) with the semi-professional blogging state I was talking about last week. It’s something about a way of creating a ‘not working but working’ state, where’s there’s no pressure to move in a specific direction, but where there is a structure around you that ‘keeps you honest’ to a degree.

A kind of liminal thought space where you’re encouraged to think towards something, but the destination hasn’t been decided for you.