In a recent interview, Steven Spielberg, the famous Hollywood film director of hit films, Jaws, E.T. and The Color Purple, admitted to a strange habit. He said he liked to seek out distractions while working on a film.
“I’m more lucid about my own work if I have got something to distract me” said Spielberg of his peculiar practice. “I can be making a movie and then I can go off that movie for a half an hour while they are lighting the set and I can be looking at the script and making changes with the writer on my next movie.”
To most people Spielberg’s appetite for distractions is a little puzzling. To them it sounds counter intuitive at best and downright destructive at worst. After all, why would somebody purposely seek out interruptions while working on a project?
Spielberg’s Subjectivity Problem
The answer comes down to what Spielberg calls the subjectivity problem. When you are working on a piece – be it an article, a music track or a film scene – you get too involved and lost in your work. You lose perspective of how a first time viewer would see the work. In Spielberg’s words, you lose your objectivity, which he defines as “losing sight of what you are doing and not being able to see it from the 15th row back, where the audience lives.”
The only remedy for this problem is time away from the work at hand. You have to take a step back from that piece in order to gain a fresh perspective. But spending time away from work is counterproductive as it wastes time. It slows down the rate at which you can create content.
This is where the Spielberg method comes into play. Rather than working on one project at a time, he works on multiple projects. That way the time away from one film is time spent on another. That is, the down time of one project becomes the up time of another project — allowing Spielberg to complete more projects in less time without sacrificing quality.
How to Turn Downtime into Work time
If you want to write more quality blog posts in less time, then consider the Spielberg method. Rather than working on one post and seeing it through till the end, work on multiple posts at a time.
When you start feeling stale and lost in one, switch to the next and work on that. Similarly, when you have run out of ideas or lost your train of thought on the second post, jump to the next one or go back to your first post and continue working.
Like Spielberg, you too will find that you return to your blog posts with greater clarity and direction than when you left them.