Since my son was born, I've had a lot less time in front of the computer. That was how I planned it. I wanted to take as much time as possible to be with my son and watch him grow.
That does not mean, however, that I was not working. When I was walking him to sleep (which requires quiet), or running an errand by myself, or doing some chore, I often took that time to think my way through what I was going to do when I did get back in front of the PC.
This proved to be incredibly effective, since I wasn't wasting time when I sat down at my desk. I had a well-thought out plan each time I got behind the keyboard, and that made my time, limited as it was, much more productive.
In fact, that "thinking time" is where my latest projects (WebComp Analyst and Web Data Parser) were born. Just having the time to think through ideas that I'd had previously sparked other ideas, which lead to a plan to test a theory, which resulted in new software applications.
You see, sometimes we can get so caught up in the working part of our business that we forget about the thinking and planning parts -- and it's the thinking and planning that guide us to long term goal achievement. You probably know the adage, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." It's so true!
Besides, just stepping away from a problem can often spark a solution in our minds. I read a book a few years ago that dealt with modern research into how memory works, and it made the point that our subconscious mind is often more effective at solving problems than our conscious mind is.
Have you ever tried really hard to remember something, and had it on the tip of your tongue, but it just never came to you? But a few hours later, when you'd forgotten all about it, that "thing" popped into your head? That's your subconscious at work, and it can work on problems you're trying to solve, too. I'm astounded at how many solutions pop into my head when I'm not even thinking about the problem. So sometimes it pays to just step back and do something else.
The proof of what I'm saying, as I said, is in my latest software applications -- which were coded in record time (for me anyway). I got the software coded faster because when I sat down to write it I already knew exactly how I wanted all of the components to work! That's the power of a plan.
It isn't stopping with those two applications, though. My latest creation is also the product of time spent musing about a "how to" question: How can I create a software application that will answer any question you throw at it? Wow, I thought, wouldn't it be fantastic to have a piece of software that could do that? Talk about a tool for rapid content creation!
Well it's out of my head and on my desktop now. It's called Answer Analyst, and you really want to take 8 minutes of your time to watch the preview video I put together this morning:
Let me know what you think in a comment below.