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TEM Blog

The Entrepreneurial Musician Blog by Andrew Hitz featuring articles on being an entrepreneur in the music business. Show notes for The Entrepreneurial Musician Podcast.

Don't Research During Prime Working Time

Andrew Hitz

"Never do research in prime working time." 

—Steven Pressfield

Well this quote sure was a kick in the pants for me. Actually, the entire book it comes from, Do The Work, has been one giant kick in the pants.

(Note: In the very near future, an upcoming episode of TEM will be a "Book Report" about this book. It's awesome.)

In his book, Pressfield warns about researching too much. To break down his argument to its simplest form, doing too much research is a crutch for not actually doing the work you are avoiding. He warns that it can become resistance.

We are all guilty of that from time to time. Some people are guilty of that all the time!

What I really love about this quoteis how he warns about doing research in the prime working hours of a day rather than doing actual work. This immediately led to me examining my working habits and making sure I'm utilizing my time and my brainpower to the best of my abilities.

As a side note that doesn't pertain directly to research, I have stopped cleaning up my inbox when I first sit down to work in the morning after my shower and coffee. This is prime mental capacity time for me (which I've only recently put my finger on since I'm finally paying attention to such things) and that is wasted by returning simple emails or deleting others.

The corollary to that is that I am pretty much braindead every single day at 4 pm. I don't know why but I am. If I try to pump out another 500 words for my next book at 4 pm it will take me four times as long as it would at 9 am. And it will suck!

So the combination of really paying attention to the data of when I work best (in terms of time of day, how much sleep I've gotten, what I've eaten and many other factors) and Pressfield's advice of not doing research in prime working hours has been a boon to my productivity.