George V. Reilly

Productivity Hack: Do Nothing

I read an in­ter­est­ing pro­duc­tiv­i­ty hack: Writing or Nothing. It’s attributed to Raymond Chandler who set himself the goal of writing for four hours every day but often found himself goofing off. To curb himself of this, he set two rules about how he could spend those four hours.

  1. I may write, but it is not mandatory,
  2. Not do anything else.

The first rule is simple. The second is the key. If he’s not writing, he may not do anything else. No reading, no bill paying, no modern dis­trac­tions like surfing the web or playing a game on a phone. Self-enforced idleness. Nothing else.

I haven’t tried it yet but I think it might be effective for me. Some of the time I’m very focused. But I can be easily distracted, especially by the siren call of the web. I’m rarely bored because there’s always something to read. But if there isn’t? I think boredom could be an antidote to pro­cras­ti­na­tion.

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