Is the Real Time Web stunting creativity?

Perhaps this post should really have been entitled GTD vs the Real Time Web..

Most folks are aware of the GTD method created by David Allen and coming up fast behind in the awareness stakes is the Pomodoro technique created by Francesco Cirillo.

Both try to offer guidance in the most effective way of completing tasks and making the best use of your time, however the problem with a ‘one-size fits all’ philosophy is that the one-size never fits quite right for anybody.

The main problem with these methods and techniques is that you spend time trying to find the right combination of hints and tips that work for you when if you just carried on working instead of worrying about HOW you’re working, the jobs would get done anyway.

Where information is concerned the real winner between effective time use philosophies and the real time web will always be the web.

I’ve tried list making – but human rationalisation kicks in when I’m ‘not in the mood’ to complete the next task, procrastination kicks in during research when during the course of the task I follow a set of links to something interesting yet unrelatedĀ  to the subject being researched.. Habits are called habits for a reason.

With the wealth of information available on-line it is next to impossible to focus unless you have a very narrow band of interests and few people can claim this; even within one subject area there are multiple sub-topics to keep up to date with.

The real time web is not GTD friendly; it slaps you in the face with the fear of being left behind if you don’t read every interesting and relevant link sent your way. Twitter is definitely the worst culprit as, if you don’t click on a link as soon as you see it, the stream will carry it away and you have missed out on an opportunity to maybe learn something useful. Then there are the numerous unread feeds in your reader that throw silent accusations at you every time you log in, you add the things you don’t have time to read to bookmarking sites, subscribe to RSS in the hope you can catch up..

It will never happen; the real time web holds too much and it goes by too swiftly for a human to digest. It turns you into a receiver instead of a creator as you struggle to stay afloat in the tidal wave of information headed your way.

To counteract this, aspects of the pomodoro technique may be a little more helpful for folks like me who struggle to stay ‘on task’ and feel the need to play catch up all the time.

The focus booster timer is an effective way of making sure you take regular breaks and if you are a freelancer will also help you to account for the increments of time spent working on a project. That 5 minute break as you walk away from the computer means you can digest what you’ve been reading and look back over the task you are supposed to be doing; it helps you to re-focus and possibly even have a eureka moment as you mentally reorder the last few hours.

This is the most creative I’ve been on here for a while, and yet still I’m talking about old news; the words ‘practice what you preach’ have never been more apt..

Just think back over your last few weeks, have you created anything you can truly call your own? Or have you amalgamated, digested and regurgitated a number of interesting things from the web? Regurgitation is not necessarily bad; people like things to be presented in different ways after all – but how creative is it?