Workflow


People’s workflows are very important to them. Workflows improve efficiency, and in this fast-paced world efficiency is a major factor in success.

It’s funny to see people’s workflows clash. Subscribe to just about any software user’s list, or just watch “the OmniOutliner 3”:http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnioutliner/ user’s list for a while, especially when developers are soliciting feature requests for the next version. The Great Clash of the Keyboardists vs. the Mousists is fun to watch for a few days.

Me? I just use whatever workflow seems best at the time. I’m not married to having my hands solely on the keyboard, such as you could do with the latest “Vi”:http://www.vim.org or “Emacs.”:http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&start=1&q=http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/emacs.html&e=7249 Nor do I rely completely on the mouse, as you would with a desktop publishing application. All the technologies have their place, and we’ve worked hard as a society to improve interface technology to make workflow smooth.

Why, then, is the brain’s workflow so hard to manage? I had several times today that could be described as a state of “flow,”:http://www.ibiblio.org/smiley/blog/pivot/entry.php?id=79 where the mind was focused on one task at hand, time seems to distort, the facts could be easily made to fit together, problem solving was as easy as walking to the bathroom. Then, after fifteen minutes or so, my mind would start wandering. It was like a symphony clanging out of tune right after doing the first movement of Beethoven’s Ninth. I came out of one of these moments of “flow” so scatterbrained I had to collect my thoughts before talking to anyone so I could avoid spouting jibberish. (One may think that I failed so bad in collecting my thoughts that I’m still spouting jibberish. One might be right.)

Maybe it’s the fact that several of the top stories today are political. Quite frankly, I despite the state of today’s politics, and maybe that struck such a discordant note that I found it very hard to recover.

Or, perhaps it’s that one of my projects has some very annoying aspects, despite the fact that I like the actual work I do.

Perhaps the brain has a capacity for this “flow” phenomenon, and I’ve been exploiting my brain so much by putting it in this state that it’s asking for a break. (I thought I give it enough of a break. Maybe not.)

Maybe my mind wants to flow in a different direction.

Whatever it is, the deadlines don’t care about whether my cerebral symphony is out of tune.

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