Keeping a diary is a headache. The whole reason for having a diary is to deal with thoughts we usually do not address. Sometimes the mind goes blank. Other times it produces more stimuli than we can handle. A diary solicits information in the first case and generates a queue in the second case. While waiting for the thoughts to form, random stimuli can actually help. Entertainment is a great way to generate random stimuli. Hence multitasking entertainment and diaries are reasonable.
Why do we keep diaries?
There are many kinds of diaries. Our reading diaries of eating diaries or even travel diaries merely summarize our consumption in a way that shows patterns. Other diaries are for the psyche, like CBT diaries, gratefulness or mindfulness diaries, or open-style diaries. Using them we deal with emotions, organizing them neatly. Yet other diaries deal with strategies and ideas. They include creative solutions, competitive analysis, action items, and so on.
When working on a diary, there should be some specific mood. A food diary is usually a result of impulsive or compulsive eating that needs to be controlled usually when we feel remorse. A travel diary is usually kept when we are overwhelmed by experiences and do not want to forget them. A gratefulness diary is a proper way to start o the way r to end the day. Work strategies should be considered when there is a creative input, often unexpected surfacing of an idea in an unlikely place. I will say it. In a bathroom.
Entertainment on steroids.
With my brain working a bit faster than average, I need to speed up and multitask my entertainment – otherwise, I might get bored and doze off.
Usually, I put the films I am watching at x1.25 x1.5 speed. If I put x2 I understand everything, but I have a less emotional reaction, miss some great music and may fail to notice action scenes. Not all situations allow higher viewing speed, and even at higher speeds, my mind is not really busy. Unless it is a film in a language I do not know very well, and I am too busy translating.
Then, I play casual games. Usually, I do not play anything that requires more than 5 min of concentration per activity, and I enjoy the gamification and the way the game is created. The games just keep my hands busy. The films are real entertainment for me.
Typically I think about the technical aspects of creating games and movies as I watch. Quite often I check trivia about the filmmaking, the characters, or the actors if I have questions. I am not very good with faces, and Anna always finds this aspect amusing.
Nowadays even entertainment is boring
We have the best, most engaging, and well-designed entertainment in human history. Yet, we as consumers change faster than the entertainment industry. We demand such an extreme level of perfection, that only the best productions fulfill. Since our judgment is relative, we find everything else quite boring.
So yes, most of the entertainment I consume is boring, even though I really try to avoid anything that did not get both critical acclaim and spectator’s love. Do not get me wrong, these are the best masterpieces in relevant genres.
Boring entertainment is great for creativity
And here is another twist. The entertainment actually needs to be somewhat boring for the hidden thoughts and feelings to surface. If the action is very fast, it may be exciting but it generates very few useful thoughts. The best thoughts surface when the characters on the screen to very little and simple things. Then every detail may activate an associative connection.
For me in entertainment, highly active scenes are like Pomodoro breaks during my day. They are desired, entertaining, and exciting – just not very productive. The long silences, the shots of characters dealing with their everyday activities, the scenes that show the motives… These scenes allow for more productivity. I get my best ideas there.
It does not matter if I am watching films or listening to music and seeing a visualization, or sleeping and watching a dream. My telephone is always directly with me, or 10 steps away. If I have an important idea, I go to my phone and write down five keywords in a mail to myself.
I do not play games that require more than 5 min of absolute attention and do not watch movies I cannot stop in the middle. Anna always asks me: what is it with you and stopping the movies! Well, this is a part of my process. Once I am ready to process ideas into more, like paragraphs or pages, I stop the entertainment and do just that. When I run out of ideas I go back to the entertainment, waiting for the next idea.
There is work I can do at work, work I do at home as moonlighting, and quality time I spend with family members and friends with closed devices. When I am not doing one of the higher priority activities, I want to be entertained. I want to rule the trivia near the coffee table, both in serious subjects and in pop culture.
The thing is: I do not get enough time for entertainment. Usually, it happens when I am too tired to work or play with kids. This strange multitasking of entertainment and diaries allows me to use even the “down” time as productively as I can.
Entertainment in the office
In the office, I cannot watch TV, but I have some time when executing the code or waiting for a meeting. Typically it is the best time for music. When I hear music I usually close my eyes and visualize. Quite often I drink coffee, tea or water. And usually, I keep some sort of diary (or Jira) in another window to write down the ideas I have spontaneously. The music I can consume this way is complex, and I usually allow my eyes to rest – which is an added bonus. It is possible to multitask this activity with small physical exercises or mindful breathing. And if the music is great the Pomodoro breaks may be a bit longer. Productivity is always welcome by never the top priority for me.
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