Creative Cocoon of Productivity

I recently wrote about the most productive place on earth.  I think this is, of course, on an airplane.  Thirty thousand feet in the air with nowhere to go, no one to interrupt you, no cell phones, no Internet, has all the advantages of being what I call a creative cocoon.

You can access my post about productivity on an airplane by following this link.  At the end of the post, I discuss the idea of turning your office into a creative cocoon to foster the same level of productivity as on an airplane.  One of my twitter followers and a fellow blogger Carol Dublin, who blogs at, commented on the post about the creative cocoon of productivity and motivated me to go after it.  I began setting up a creative cocoon of productivity in my office

Of course, you cannot lead and influence others while you’re sitting behind a desk.  So, I had to set up a temporary cocoon of productivity.  This had to be something that I could set up in times when I needed heightened focus to achieve a high level of productivity.  On the other hand, I need to be able to put my cocoon away at a moment’s notice.

So I began with the basics, what does a creative cocoon look like?  The key features are as follows:

  1. White Noise – Blocks out distracting noises
  2. Phones are off – Essential for avoiding interruption
  3. Restricted Mobility – You’re stuck in your chair
  4. Unplugged – No Internet or TV

I took these four areas into account and began working away on systems to make my office more like an airplane.

  1. White Noise – Our ears are always on.  To increase productivity, I find it helpful to turn them off and force my mind to focus.  I have always been a baseball fan but l never knew how much it would benefit me.  I subscribe to MLB.TV and can listen to any baseball game via my iPhone.  I plug it into my beautiful Crosley iSolo Radio and play a game very softly. If there are no live games I playback an old dodgers game.  Vin Scully is my favorite play-by-play man.  This noise is easy for me to tune out but also masks the various noises around the office.
  2. Phone is off – – I once set a timer on my watch, set a sheet of paper and pencil to the side, and began to work for 30 minutes.  I used the paper and pencil to tally every time my office phone or my cell phone went off.  In 30 minutes, I was interrupted 12 times!  In fact, I have received two office calls, one intercom communication and three texts while writing this post!  Now, I put my cell phone on silent while it plays a baseball game and turn my phone to DND.
  3. Restricted Mobility – I create this creative cocoon of productivity during my “alone zone” time.  See my schedule for more about this.  This way, people know that while I’m available to them, I’m busy on a task.  I close my door and sit down in my seat.  I set a timer and resolve to not move from my chair until the timer goes off.
  4. Unplugged – I use MacFreedom on my Mac to ensure I won’t be getting onto Facebook or Twitter when I should be focused and productive.

Always remember to try and use my 50/10 rule when working in a focused environment to avoid fatigue.  Here’s an additional bit of advice: try a little human interaction and outdoor time before and after your time in the cocoon.  This will help you to avoid “office jet lag.”

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