Thoughts on branding, design, writing and life by Kevin Potts. Established 2003.

40 Hours a Day

When you’re unable to multitask and your brain never wants to settle into one direction, how do you get anything done with only 24 hours in a day?

Lately my brain seems to be stretched thin across 100 web design directions. Every time I start a new site, or buy a new URL, or think about how I need to update one of my other sites, my head flashes with another idea for another site that’s going to require more of my time.

My work ethic is kind of weird. I sit in front of a computer—designing, coding, writing, lollygagging—about twelve hours a day. It’s a wonder my eyes haven’t shriveled to white raisins and fallen out of my head. If I accomplished everything I wanted, I would need to sit in front of this glowing beige machine 40 hours every day.

Frankly, I am terrible at multitasking. If I work a bit here on this, then a bit there on that, I end up getting nothing done. Every night I try to have a very narrow focus. One night I will design three ideas for one site. The next night I will spend in Textpattern on a tiny piece of functionality. Most of graphicPUSH’s posts are written in one long sitting.

As you can imagine, this can quickly create a creative traffic jam. Especially when my house fly attention span keeps leaping from idea to idea and project to project. Why work on this looming client project when I can write for graphicPUSH? Why write for that site when I could be busy finishing the design on this other one? And why work on that when I could create something brand new? And why would I start something brand new when I have that client project due tomorrow?

Really, I would need 40 hours in a day just to do all the personal, fun, random crap that bring in zero income. Client stuff is never as fun. It pays the bills, but I would rather squander two hours dicking around in Photoshop than try to figure out why my client’s site stopped working.

A friend of mine says that everyone’s ultimate goal should be to obtain a patron. A filthy rich benefactor that pays to create whatever you want. I need one of those. Anybody up for the job?


commentary + criticism

Derek Punsalan

wrote the following on Friday May 19, 2006

You know what hampers my productivity is the fact that doing anything website related requires a working internet connection. Having that connection can be so damn distracting with my feed reader perched in the toolbar taunting me “there is something to read, there is something to read!”

Kevin Sweeney

wrote the following on Friday May 19, 2006

I know exactly how you feel. It’s as though I don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not behind a computer sometimes. Come summer, I’m forcing myself to get some new hobbies or revisit old ones.

I would have to agree that if I didn’t need an internet connection to get work done, I could probably shut out everything else and crack down on a single project and have it done in a night rather than dragging it out for a whole week.


wrote the following on Friday May 19, 2006

It’s eerie how close your description matches the struggle I go through on a daily basis!

What confounds it for me is the fact that I never get 12 hours in front of the computer; I’m lucky for a measly 3-4 continuous hours, which further makes it difficult to focus and get things done. It’s hard to even get started when I know that I’ll be interrupted just when things are getting good.

I also have numerous creative endeavors, on and off the computer, that are all vying for my attention.

Have you happened to devise and solutions?!


wrote the following on Friday May 19, 2006

I have no definitive solutions. Essentially, when I have to do something, I just “do the thing” (to quote Will Farrell).

I also turn everything interent-related off. No e-mail, no RSS, no IM, nothing. I just turn on a Bill Laswell album and push through until it gets done with as little to distract me as possible. Sometimes complete disconnection is the only way to be productive.

My wife says I need to find something to do away from the computer. She suggested a garden. Not a bad idea.


wrote the following on Friday May 19, 2006

reading this post was like looking at the thoughts inside my head. it might be small consolation that i am not a lone but i’ll take it.

the only way i can guarantee some focus is finding a coffee shop with NO internet connection and rely on my internal network thanks to os x, mysql and camino.


wrote the following on Sunday May 21, 2006

You know that is a good question. I really would love to know. I have so much to do in a day. I work 10 hours a day and then I come home and work another 3-5 hours. I’m not sure where I have time to sleep.

I knew I wasn’t alone. ;)


wrote the following on Saturday June 3, 2006

Funny, reading this and writing this comment something in the back of my head tells me “come on get to work and stop being distracted by interesting articles!” :)


wrote the following on Wednesday June 7, 2006

I get that all the time. Like right now. Man I need to get to work.


wrote the following on Saturday September 16, 2006

Everything you have described is the punchline of the massive joke which is computers and technology.

When modern computers were becoming more common place in society everyone thought what a great labour saving device they would be, so why do we still work 10-15 hours a day not 5 hours instead?


wrote the following on Wednesday February 7, 2007

In his book ‘Don’t make me think’, Steve Krug likens the experience of moving through web pages to flying. We are in a sense moving vast distances effortlessly, and without the usual sensations and constraints that accompany our movement through real 3D space. So I think that makes it kind of addictive and maybe physiologically a bit unbalancing. I think Kevin’s garden idea is probably a good one. If only we could come up with an online way to ‘rebalance’. Something along the lines of the Nintendo Wii where you actually have to move your whole body to get a task done.

Adam Kayce : Monk At Work

wrote the following on Friday March 16, 2007

Charlie knows of what he speaks…

It goes back to the age-old practice of trying to create an external structure, thinking it’ll give us discipline.

The only way we’re going to get back to a 5-hour workday is if we find the ability to stay focused within ourselves, and learn to say “enough is enough; I’m enriched enough for now!”

Okay, now, back to work for me, too! :)