productivity

My friend Richard Gibson today called my attention to this 2013 column in the Economist

The most obvious beneficiaries of leaning back would be creative workers — the very people who are supposed to be at the heart of the modern economy. In the early 1990s Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist, asked 275 creative types if he could interview them for a book he was writing. A third did not bother to reply at all and another third refused to take part. Peter Drucker, a management guru, summed up the mood of the refuseniks: “One of the secrets of productivity is to have a very big waste-paper basket to take care of all invitations such as yours.” Creative people’s most important resource is their time — particularly big chunks of uninterrupted time — and their biggest enemies are those who try to nibble away at it with e-mails or meetings. 

People sometimes get irritated when I decline to do something they have asked me to do — read their novel, speak at their college — but do not pause to reflect that they’re only asking me because at many points in the past I declined to read someone else’s novel or speak at someone else’s college, and did my work instead. 

February 23, 2020

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