I'm Most Productive When I'm Alone.
I've been traveling the world in this past month, alongside my iOS devices and MacBook Pro. I've been a GTD and OmniFocus user for at least 6-7 years and feel I know my way around my sense of productivity; though by all means I'm discovering new things every single week.
During these travels to foreign countries and within the U.S., I've noticed that the majority of my productivity is when i'm alone, away from friends and family which serve as distractions. This isn't to say that my actions don't include these people, but on a daily basis, those times when i'm on fire, on a roll or in the zone are accomplished when i'm focused on my own accord.
I'm wondering your take on this thought, and above all, how you approach this matter on a daily basis, should it occur to you.
I've had many friends who are productive and simply tell those around them, "Alright I gotta go." While for others it seems like the social glue is too strong to release. I mention and create this post now considering i'm currently staying at a friends house in the U.S. and notice that said friend runs his day at a much slower pace than I do, while I like to wake up and fire up all cylinders.
And to drive the point home, in regard to the title of this thread; I do mean alone. People seem to be distractions. From the friend who thinks is helping but really a distraction, to the little niece (though adorable) nearby that wants attention in fixing up a doll-house. Of course a solution would be to go and hit up a StarBucks but I can't do that. I'm stationary in regards to needing to stay close to home-base (wherever it may be said particular week) due to not necessarily knowing my way around new cities. (Again, this post isn't about GTD while traveling; more-so about GTD without distractions and this focusing on people).
Other People's Domains...
It sounds like you're also staying in other people's domains, which is slightly different than choosing to work from home, or whatever... If I'm staying with people - no matter how long they've been friends - I often find I feel a little obligated to fit into their rhythms, as I'm technically a "guest" in their home...
Could this be some of what's going on for you right now as you travel to different places? If so, communicating your gratitude while still explaining your need for space is a delicate dance, I would think... But not impossible - especially if you know them well?
There is also the option of finding out when their downtimes are and trying to shift your own schedule to take advantage of those times (e.g. when they all go to bed and/or get up you can do the opposite!)... Don't know how practical that is for you!
About interruptions and productive contexts
Hi. Great topic. I would add two comments:
1. Do you have some time of full availability to others? I mean, a time with full focus on the people withouth any kind of wiring whatsoever (i.e. no phone, no email, no internet, no TV, ...)? I suspect that if we have a full focus mode to our people during some amount of time, it makes it easier to also have a full focus mode for our work during some other amount of time. The problem is when we keep mixing both all the time.
2. Self-interruptions. Of course there are working contexts that better provide focus, being the lack of stimula a great helper. But, some tricks (which I bet you already have) are particularly important when you do have to work in a interruption_crowded context. I would highlight a couple: a) define each task step shorter and write it down like a log - micro guidance gives you better focus and makes it a lot easier to recover your way after the interruption. b) make sure you are not interrupting yourself using the external factor as an excuse.
Hope it adds some value to the discussion.
Gonšalo Gil Mata