Schedule Easy, Small Tasks as Work Breaks: Productivity Tip from Erin McKean

Takeaway: Interruptions can boost your creativity if you schedule them at the right times. 


Erin McKean, the founder of the online dictionary Wordnik, interrupts her schedule with small, easy tasks in order to increase her productivity.

What’s the science behind “productive” distractions? Dr. Shelley Carson of Harvard University discovered that focusing on a problem limits creativity because you become more selective when responding to brain signals.  Switching to a task that requires less focus reverses the bias and therefore increases your ability to think creatively.

Working on something else is a great way to clear your mind of the ‘primary problems.’ There’s only so far you can run and only so many showers you can take to try to trigger that creative distance. Sometimes stepping away from the problem is the best way to solve it.

When I want a little break, I look at my daily Lift goals and tackle one of them. I like Robert Benchley’s maxim: Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed be doing at that moment.” Doing that ‘work I’m not supposed to be doing’ is much more productive than looking at funny cat pictures!

More productivity tips from entrepreneurs:

Evan Williams: Workout When You’re Least Productive
Loïc Le Meur: Meditate – It’s the Productivity Trick People Are Afraid to Talk About
Chris Messina: Build Tiny Habits: They Can Be Surprisingly Powerful
Joel Gascoigne: Optimize Your Daily Routines
Buster Benson: Experiment with New Habits Regularly
Marshall Kirkpatrick: Hack the Science of Behavior Change

There is one thing that all of these entrepreneurs have in common: they’ve all built habits using Lift. 

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