Greyscalegorilla Podcast: Episode 4: Turn Off Growl!

May 13, 2011 - By 

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  • Man you were talking about you but at the same time you were describing my habits almost exactly. Freaky

  • fucking love these podcasts.
    common sense stuff that can be applied to anybody in a creative field.
    plus, I totally have A.D.D. and I often have a hard time sticking on task.
    funny as I am posting this comment from work.

  • Like these podcasts!

  • Nick.
    This is one of the best podcasts. I think it all begins with approach… from time to time, I think I need to go over this shit and reassess habits.

  • Thanks for the wonderful tips, I have learned a lot today!

  • Perfect understanding of those habits that worry me every day!!!

  • thanks, interesting to hear your solutions. Also good that it was just audio, I got some work done!

  • I’m seriously listening, though many do not understand.

  • batching is a good idea. you don’t wash a single sock when it’s dirty, you pile it up with the other dirty laundry and do it all in one batch.

  • Well spoken, you hit the nail to the head. That was a great reflection of the most of our lives and how they we “feel better”.

    THX Nick!

  • Great podcast. Lots of useful info. Totaly agree with reading your e-mails only a few times a day. My problem at work is that people assume that because they have sent you an e-mail, you have read it. My boss hates it when he sends me an e-mail then asks me half an hour later what I thought of his idea and say I haven’t read it yet. Sends him nuts ! As a result of this podcast I have now turned off E-mail notification , dropbox etc. Must now learn to tell people “Sorry, you aren’t on my list today…come back tomorrow”

  • Love the direction you are going with this Nick!
    Keep up the good work!
    You are making me rethink my current life.
    In a good way!
    Love you buddy.

  • haven’t heard music from apples and stereo in a long time, thx for reminding me of them. their song Energy goes with staying productive.

    you might like – gorkys zygotic Mynci

  • Hey, nice podcast.
    Would be cool, if you’ll dublicate your Show Notes to the iTunes’ mp3 too.

  • Keep this up Gorilla, it’s entertaining and keeps me in gear while on C4D.

  • Does any one know the type of drive you would use today, to do what nick talked abut. (booting from the drive and working from any computer)

  • man, digging listening to this on a Sunday. Much more appropriate than listening at 2pm CST whilst I’m at work. one thing to recommend is evernote, good for syncing to-do lists from one device to another. instapaper is the SHIT.

    also, kudos on a themed podcast. I’ve been finding the chat room madness on QA sessions to be a bit much. this reminds me of GSG casts from 2 years ago, focused, informative, inspirational.


    – Dan.

  • … and I’m sitting at my desk, sipping a cup of coffee, checking facebook, twitter, was for a moment about to start working and then… and then… just thought: hmmm, head over to nick’s site and wooohoooo… an new podcast!!!

    beside facebook, your site is the most time bandit… haha 😉 keep up!

  • Hi Nick,

    Thanks for publishing this awesome podcast! It’s exactly what I needed right now. I’ve been having trouble lately developing discipline as a consultant so I’m always looking for tips to be more productive.

    I’m really starting to understand why deadlines are so essential in personal work, you raised a lot of great points.

    I also really liked the concept of a work zone and play zone and the example you used of going to get a coffee and returning to home. I’ve done that a bit in the past but I’d like to get more serious about that again.

    Thanks once again.

  • Hi Nick,

    Great podcast, on the bit where you mention instapaper, I’ve been doing a similar thing for a while with another app called ‘evernote’ – works great. Though I’ll give instapaper a go to see if its any better!


  • GREAT podcast. Some excellent tips, I wish I’d heard this five years ago! I have started to do a lot of the things mentioned myself. This is my number one issue. Like many others in the industry I work long hours and a lot of the time if I’m honest, that’s been down to getting easily distracted. I heard this once, and it’s so true: “Everything Is Fascinating When You Should Be Working”.

    The truth is that you might think you’re working hard doing all night shifts but there’s no way you can work as efficiently and creatively if you’re constantly tired from long shifts. Anything that helps cut down those long shifts has to help.

    Like anyone, I get easily distracted by facebook and twitter and sports news and film news etc. And that’s without the whole ‘research excuse’ when I can spend time watching Vimeo for ‘inspiration’…. of course that is often valid, but it’s just as often a way to avoid tackling problems and getting work finished.

    I think breaks are really important, even if it’s just getting up and going to grab a cup of tea, or a water. Or ten minutes out of the house/office going for a walk. Those ten minute breaks a couple of times a day will be far more beneficial than the twenty times you click on facebook or twitter.

    It’s incredibly tiring staring at a monitor all day, so naturally for a break you look for some distraction. Problem is, half the time the distraction involves looking at something else on the monitor!

    One kind of eureka moment for me recently was when I was working at home when my internet connection was down. I flew through that work. No distractions. There were issues, I could have done with it for the odd reference or texture. But I didn’t miss checking my gmail every ten minutes. Now I try very hard to work without even clicking my little Chrome icon at all. The weird thing is it’s almost instinctive to click on it!

    Also- I totally agree about Notifiers – They are the work of the devil. You have email! You have a Twitter link! You have a friend who has just posted something of no interest to anyone on facebook!

    I try to make a rule to check my emails twice a day. Even in work. If it’s really important, the person will call. Otherwise, I end up wasting tons of time doing these tasks in fits and bursts as opposed to setting aside time to do them in one batch. (There’s that word again!)

    Any time away from the project you are working on will get you out of that head-space and sometimes it can take a long time to get back into it. Distractions for a quick ten minute job as a favour can end up costing you an hour, easily.

    Anyway, great podcast Nick, some excellent points. Pretty sure everyone can use something to help their productivity & creativity. Cheers!

  • Hey Nick,

    It’s really nice to hear someone be open and honest about their struggles as a creative person with distractions and meeting deadlines. I wish more people were open about their “coping” strategies because we all go through the same thing. Maybe the competitiveness of the industry makes us feel like we have to hide our weaknesses. Personally I feel we’d all be much happier if we knew we weren’t alone.

    I just wanted to add two things that I have experienced that have shaped my work/life habits. Firstly, seven years ago I had my first son and if you think getting married will force you to reduce the volume of time you spend in front of the computer, kids will reduce that time by another 75%. In the beginning, for the first 2 years, had a really rough time adjusting to the fact that I just couldn’t determine my day as I saw fit. My son just didn’t fit into my 15 hour work day like I wanted him too and for good reason. Kids aren’t supposed to fit into a 15 hour work day. But this frustrated me creatively mostly because I was so used to the distracted life style – my days were not efficient and thus, when child care derailed them, I would get really resentful of my own son. Not a good place to be for a parent. Especially a parent who actively chose to have kids. By the time I had my second son, I knew I needed a major adjustment or else I was going to lose my family. Well, to be honest, I really didn’t know, my wife told me, you need a major adjustment or else you’re going to lose your family. It felt like one of those cheesy movie moments that Eddie Murphy seems to enjoy making nowadays, but… she was right. I needed to spend less time thinking about work and more time living. I implemented a bunch of things that you talked about in your podcast but one of the biggest changes was moving to a studio that respected and encouraged me to spend time off with my family and had no issue with me saying that my kid was sick and I needed to work from home. As long as the deadlines are met, I can set my schedule to fit my family’s needs. It’s a small thing but when you are working in an office environment with a boss that values long hours, unproductive “face time” and has no respect for life away from work, it becomes really hard to implement any real change.

    My second lesson came through a very cheesy book I found by accident at the bookstore. I’m sitting there with my son as he plays with the Thomas trains and in the Business book section across from me I see this florescent orange book stuck between stock market futures and venture capitalist called “How To Have Kick Ass Ideas”. First thing I think is, what a terrible name for a book, I’ve definitely got to read this piece of crap. 45 minutes later, I’m buying the book and spent the next month reading it over and over again. It’s an amazing perspective on how to stay creative and vibrant as you go through life dealing with all of the wonderful things that can instantly wipe out your spark – not including kids, stress, divorce, loss of work, death, just name a few. One thing in particular that the book gave me was confidence in my need for dead time – not deadline – dead time. I aways beat myself up pretty heavily for taking a long time to get my ideas rolling. Pitches will come in and colleagues of mine, within hours will be banging out amazing work but me, I’m not getting anything. Then after a long deliberation and mucking about, with the deadline looming, I finally get a spark and it all seems to come together in a mad rush. I used to think that it was just procrastination but that book showed me how we … I …need that deliberation time. My brain needs time to sift through all the constraints, priorities, research and concepts that a project will be defined by. That dead time spent doodling, watching vim, walking around the park at the beginning of a project is important for me and now I embrace it. Course I don’t embrace it to the point where I miss a deadline but I also don’t get stressed when I don’t have a clue about what I’m going to do for a job within an hour of receiving the creative brief. I have confidence that the ideas will come and they usually show up just in time.

    Anyway Nick, keep up the great work and keep sharing your opinions and thoughts. I, for one, really appreciate it.


    check out this video
    Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work

  • 😀 I just wanted to make a short comment and say “thanks for this one Nick, nice to know that other people got the same problems as me ;)”


    I HAD to read the other comments and for sure I clicked on every link in the comment section 😀 Oh man… I have to work on this 😀 But first I have to watch the video of Jason Fried 😉

    I recently checked your recommendation of – think that’s the right thing for me! Thanks for the hint.


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