The Flow – Programming in Ecstasy

I once worked in an office with a timed motion sensor light switch.  If it didn’t detect motion in the office for 20 minutes or so it would turn off the lights.

When I was programming “In The Zone” the lights would switch off repeatedly and often over hours of work.  Each time I’d flail my arms briefly to get the lights back and return to the task at hand, back into the zone.  Eventually I would get the hint, switch my mind off, stretch and go home to wife and kids.

I enjoyed being in the zone… greatly.  I lost track of time.  I lost awareness of my surrounds.  I was detached from everything around me and was immersed in my task.  It felt great but strangely I wasn’t really aware of that feeling when in the zone.

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“Spontaneity has its time and place”

Have you ever been asked to attend a meeting in which there will be an hour (exactly) of brainstorming or creative thinking?  … perhaps just after lunch while your brain is faded? … perhaps on a day where you’ve some major item to deliver?  … perhaps in a meeting room as comfortable as a crowded bus on a hot day?

As a project manager once put it to a software team, “We will be having a meeting tomorrow at 2pm where we’ll write down all the ideas we need for this project”.  The message was also clear that after that meeting the scope and schedule would be fixed and creativity and innovation would be unwelcome.

Shoehorning a creative process into a tight box is not ideal.

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