Wednesday, July 24, 2019

"How was your day today, honey?"

I just got, this is not at all unusual, yet another stern email in all-caps WARNING! THAT I WILL BE LOCKED OUT of the “system” if I do not do my timesheets with both alacrity and dispatch.

This morning, some hours before receiving my almost daily threatening timesheet email (the sum total of my interactions with corporate—the same entity who claim they want to improve the “culture” of the agency) I read a small item in the ever-failing “New York Times,” about Lee Smith, a right-handed relief pitcher primarily for the Chicago Cubs who was just elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Smith, at the time of his retirement, had saved more games than anyone else in major league history. He led the National League in saves three times, was selected to seven All-Star teams, finished 802 games, and recorded a total of 478 saves over his 18-year career in the big leagues.

The Times wrote: “Smith was famous for napping during games…‘Man, I could sleep anywhere. I remember the old stadium in Milwaukee, it was tiny, and I could actually sleep right in the middle of the floor. The trainer’s job was to make sure I was up in the sixth inning and I had on the right uni.’”

Even so many salad days ago when I played about 125 professional games for the Saraperos de Saltillo in the Mexican Baseball Lague (AA), I realize that I spent far more time scratching than I did running or fielding or throwing.

What’s important in most jobs is being ready for the brief bursts of doing something between hours and hours of waiting. Claude Debussey, the French composer, put it this way: “Music is the space between the notes.” Or as another Frenchman, perhaps the greatest film-director of all-time put it, “The foundation of all civilization is loitering.”

In the modern MBA-industrial-robotification-dehumanization complex, of course, we understand how to measure but we don’t know the meaning of what we’re measuring. We know how to count. But we don’t know what we’re counting. We know how to add, but we don’t know what the totals mean.

I’ve always struggled with timesheets because to my modus operandi creative people are always working.  

We’re always reading, viewing, walking, hearing, observing, thinking, talking, listening, arguing. We're working even when resting, sleeping, goofing, drinking, ping-ponging, etcetera-ing. All of that ing-ing are the raw materials of ideas, of sentences, of thoughts, jokes, clarifications. They’re all inputs that help a creative person create outputs with impact.

Just now, I stumbled across a series of charts that showed how famous creative people of the past spent their days. You could do worse than spending a few minutes thinking about this information.

Here are two more detailed looks at the daily lives of these creative people.

This chart looks at how much of their day famous creative people spend doing actual creative work.

Keen to develop better work habits? Discover how some of the world's greatest minds scheduled creative work into their daily routines.
Click image to see the interactive version (via Podio).

This chart looks at how much famous creative people sleep. It must have been shitty to live next door to Franz Kafka.

From early birds to night owls – discover the sleeping habits of some of the world's greatest minds.
Click image to see the interactive version (via Podio).

Then I wondered.

What about us? The not-so-famous and so-called creative people who toil in the fleshpots of Madison Avenue?

I got to thinking about how we spend our days. And nights.

I came up with this. Now I think I'll take a nap.

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