It’s widely accepted that there exists a state of mind that allows you to perform exceptionally. Most people call it ‘the zone’ or ‘flow’. Achieving it helps you to get things done almost effortlessly. It’s fragile though; a single distraction can break it.
The clock is one of those distractions for me:
- 10.00 – Only 10 am?? It feels like I’ve been doing nothing for ages.
- 11.30 – Better not start something new because it’ll be lunch time soon.
- 14.00 - Sheesh this day is never going to end…
- 16.00 – It’s already 4 pm?? I did nothing today and it’s too late to start now.
This gets worse when I have appointments throughout the day. The example is a bit extreme, but you catch my drift.
As an experiment, I removed every time indicator from my screen six months ago. The effects are noticeable: I can just sit, work and not care about how the day is progressing. This lack of attachment in turn makes it easier to lose myself in what I’m doing, thus comfortably achieving more.
There are downsides: it also stops me from getting up and do basic things like drink water or getting some fresh air. I work from home and if I’m not careful I skip lunch and scramble to make something for diner because I forgot to buy groceries.
Notifications help with this. My calendar and reminders pop up every now and then so I don’t forget anything important. I could start wearing my Apple Watch again to remind me to get up, set additional reminders to help me take proper care of myself and do mundane tasks during the day.
That’s a bit much, I think. It would make me feel like a robot.
I’m working on a more natural way of getting the most out of my day: it’s an app called Timeless. At its core it gives me a generic sense of what part of the day I’m in: morning, lunch time, noon etc.
Instead of breaking concentration or induce stress it lets me continue working when I’m still in the time range I’m expecting to get stuff done. Then, in a glance, it lets me know that I’ve entered a new part of the day. If it’s between 12pm and 2pm I should probably get lunch.
There’s no notification to ‘get lunch now’, just a hint that when I’m ready I should probably go grab something to eat.
Even when combined with more urgent interruptions, like water breaks, it allows me to comfortably get back to work. I don’t feel any pressure or hesitance because of how much time I have left in the day.
I’m getting ready to let others give this a go as well. If you’d like to be invited to try the beta, subscribe to the mailing list. Thanks!