Argh, don't interrupt me.
    Argh, don't interrupt me.

    As a “creative” that depends on uninterrupted time to crank out high quality content and thoughtful products that help clients be happier and more productive, I depend on quiet time to finish what I start. I’m largely introverted and need the peace that comes from quiet time. And I know enough about brain science to know what actually happens when we get interrupted in the middle of sleep or concentration on a complex work project. Quite simply, interruptions create stress, and stress repeated many times a day creates a pattern of living with stress, which raises our cortisol levels, eventually to a chronic condition. Higher cortisol wreaks havoc with every system in our body and moves blood to our torso and legs (readying us for flight or flight), and more importantly, taking precious blood flow away from our pre-frontal cortex. Where’s that? The place where our brain thinks rationally and creatively. And when half of the blood required for it to function optimally is going elsewhere, we are essentially operating on half a brain, half of our IQ and half of our creative potential. Argh. That’s why I can’t figure out this complex project I am working on.

    It’s not just work that creates stress anymore either.

    As I write this my phone dings and I have text messages coming in from family members on the weekend when I had hoped to rest from the constant demands of technology while running a tech company. We get dings early because of EMEA and late beyond dinnertime from west coast clients. A long day.

    So, why is texting so tempting for our personal lives too? Yet I know I am part of my own angst. I participate because I love them and miss them. I am glad to hear from my daughter, since she’s a creative too and as busy as we are. But here’s the rub. Texting and social media seems to be the only way many people connect anymore. Maybe I will stop answering, I think sometimes. I have gotten off of social media almost entirely because of the constant dings. When I turned off the noise, I found I didn’t miss knowing what everyone is doing today. Eventually I stopped checking it at all. Still don’t miss it.

    It has helped that I found a do not disturb function for my phone that I turn on from 10 pm to 7 am, but that leaves 15 hours where people know they can reach me instantly. Yes, I do it to them too. To the people helping me decorate and up-fit our new home. To the landscaper. The housekeeper. My hair stylist. To our local friends to make plans. At least we’re making plans, I say to myself.

    I also know that the only thing I can control is myself. What can I do differently myself that would reduce interruptions for me and others I care about? Maybe limit myself to a certain number of texts per week? Don’t engage in long conversations over text or chat. Call people. Visit them. Get on my bike and go over there. Get in the car and make trips to see people I love that don’t live here.

    Yeah. I did this with email years ago. I did the math. The more emails I sent, the more my incoming emails multiplied exponentially. Just reduce my end of it. Time to reverse the math formula. Figure out how to reduce incomings exponentially. And spend the freed up time making real connections.

    Today, I will focus on creative time and hanging out with friends time. And ignore my phone by turning off the noise. See what happens. Maybe I will finish this difficult project once and for all and it will be good.



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