If you want to be truly productive, disconnect…

A relatively short post this week as I made a last-minute change of the topic.

Regarding the title – if you’re the type of person who isn’t the slightest bit bothered about being productive, and you’re happy relaxing every evening with your phone or tablet in front of you, then this may not be the post for you. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Quite often, the need to be productive, can be too much. The need to be productive all the time is rammed down our throats by some people, especially on certain social media sites, and that is dangerous. It isn’t healthy to be constantly pursuing the need to do something ‘meaningful’ or ‘productive’ – we all need some downtime. It’s vitally important. If your downtime is a few hours every evening, once you’ve sat on the couch after a hard days’ work, then pursue that passionately and do your very best to ensure you frequently achieve it. However, regular readers will know I’m not content with that as a way to live life, hence why you see posts like this.

A quote a friend sent me yesterday prompted this post (as is often the case). This one relates to the brilliant film director, Christopher Nolan:

Christopher Nolan uses two computers when writing. The main one, used for typing his scripts, is completely disconnected from the internet, whilst the second is online but used for research only. “He doesn’t use the internet on the computer that he writes scripts on, so there’s no danger of him getting distracted and going down rabbit holes. To me, it’s just this mindset of an extremely rigorous work ethic,” says Christopher Nolan’s wife Emma Thomas.

Do we truly realise just how damaging constantly being connected is? How being online for so much of our day can dominate our lives? Just how much being glued to a phone screen, tablet, or laptop internet browser prevents us from doing other things? I could list some of the things we could be doing instead though I won’t – I’ve done too much of that in these blog posts lately and if this resonates with you, you’ll know the things which are important to you which you could be spending time on.

Just seeing this one simple quote really made me stop and think – does being online dominate my life? If yes, to what extent? Sadly, for me, despite having recognised this as an issue many times previously, the answers are still ‘yes’, and ‘to a huge extent’. That bothers me…

To begin understanding why this quote hit home with me like it did, I need to think more about Christopher Nolan. A hugely successful man. Someone who is now acknowledged as one of the all-time great movie directors and writers. A visionary. The man behind movies such as Oppenheimer, Inception, Dunkirk, Interstellar, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Memento, and others. Obviously a hugely talented man but, perhaps equally as important, someone who realises the need to stay focussed and disciplined. Someone who clearly realises just how dangerous and time-consuming the distractions of the internet are. Someone who realises what it takes to be productive and to achieve the things he truly wants to achieve in life. He’ll clearly have some downtime in his life, though he also clearly has a definite dividing line between his productive time and his downtime.

The talent part aside, there’s nothing profound or difficult in his approach. It all boils down to understanding what is important in life and prioritising working toward that. Primarily, it’s all about discipline and focus (two words I use frequently in these blog posts). If I can adopt this for just a fraction of the time that I currently lose to distractions, it will be hugely beneficial and do my state of mind the world of good. Losing myself down random internet rabbit holes is a constant cause of frustration for me. At best, it’s mildly irritating. At worst, I go to bed at night feeling hugely frustrated, angry, and worthless. I desperately need to change that, and disconnection could well be the answer…

As always, thanks for reading and take care.

Best wishes.


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