Groove failure and reacquisition

Into every creator’s life, a few non-creative events must fall. Sometimes its meetings, maybe it’s a bunch of business-related emails, or a bunch of support tasks have piled up and it comes time to empty the queue. Whatever the cause, the result is often the same: my day is robbed of chunks of time that are sufficient for tackling the code I wanted to work on. Total Groove Failure.

Going with the assumption that eliminating Total Groove Failure and its causes is impractical, I’m left with the question of how to recover from these sorts of days. I asked about this the other day. I got two sorts of responses.

On the one hand, you can withdraw. Get away from the computer, maybe get some sleep or enjoy an adult beverage. One the other hand, you can take action. Get outside, go for a walk or exercise. Maybe work on a side project. Start some code and leave it for the next morning to finish. These are some of my Groove Reacquisition Tools.

Discovering a new Groove Reacquisition Tool is a wonderful thing. None of them are silver bullets, but each one is little slice of confidence that, even if I get derailed, I can get back on the productivity train.

Whether through action or inaction, it’s important to get away from the computer and/or that which sliced your day into fragments. From there, I’ve often found it helpful to consider what it is that’s stealing my focus and react appropriately. Some days I know that diving into some open source work will do the trick. Others, I need a nap, to exercise, or to wrap myself in a book.

The crucial bit is to realize I’ve lost my groove. Not every interruption leads to Total Groove Failure. There are days where I respond to a few emails in the morning and quickly get into my coding happy place. But if I find myself frustrated at every turn, I resort to one of my Groove Reacquisition Tools.