How To Be Productive: Understanding Time, Work and Creativity – Dr. Ken Atchity

How To Be Productive: Understanding Time, Work and Creativity – Dr. Ken Atchity


Film Courage: One of your many books Ken is
WRITE TIME? And in the forward you say that the world
can be divided into two people, productive people and non-productive people. And you say that productive people have a
love affair with time. I’ve love to know what makes someone on
the right side of time and what make someone where time in their enemy? Dr, Ken Atchity, Producer/Author: Well that’s
a very good question put in a very intelligent way that makes it hard to get a handle on
it because time is…time doesn’t really exist. Time is a human construct, we created time. Squirrels and chipmunks don’t have much
idea of time. They know that the sun rises and the sun goes
down and they know that it rains but they don’t think the way that we do and they
don’t keep track of their birthdays for example, only humans do that. And it’s unfortunate because you’re only
as old as you think you are. And that’s the way a squirrel looks at it
and nobody is arguing with the squirrel about it but humans know better. Some people look at time as the enemy and
some people look at it as a friend. There is an old Spanish saying that is “There
is more time than life,” which I always thought was a wonderful way of looking at
it because that is what a productive person would say “there is more time than life.” And another Spanish or Italian saying says
that “Life is short, but wide.” And that’s another way of productively looking
at it. Like people say “How can you do as much
stuff as you do?” Well that’s because that’s what I do. I don’t do anything else. And I used to give classes on time management
and do a lot of studies on it, in fact WRITE TIME is filled with time management theories. And one of the things I noticed about people
was they had no idea where there time went. And they go “I don’t know where you find
all the time.” And I would say “I don’t know where you
lose it.” I mean we all have the same amount of time
and they go “How much time do we have by the way? How much time is in a week?” And 2 out of 10 people can ask the question
right off the top of their heads because they’ve never really multiplied 25 by 7 and realized
exactly how many hours there are in a week. Everybody has the same amount of time. So what I would do in a time management class
at UCLA or elsewhere is I would say let’s chart your time this week. I just want you to make a chart of what you
do with your time and let’s come in and talk about it next week when we come back
together. And they would come back in and that was before
I asked them how many hours there were in a week I would wait for the third week to
ask that question. And some people would come in with 98 hour
weeks and some people would come in with 62 hour weeks and nobody seem to agree in general
how many hours there were in a week because the hours they gave me didn’t add up, they
didn’t make sense. They’d say “I sleep six hours a day.” But it turned out in the third week of analysis
that instead of 6 hours a day they were actually sleeping 10 hours. They just were telling themselves they were
sleeping 6 hours a day. How much time do you spend talking on the
telephone? Most people thought they maybe spent 15 minutes
a day, when in fact it might be an hour a day. And watching television (of course). Some people said they were only watching an
hour a day when they were actually watching three hours a day. But a productive person knows exactly how
long it takes to do something. Like when I write a screenplay or a book,
I can tell you how many hours it takes to do it and so I know that I can get it done
in a certain amount of time. Agatha Christie apparently wrote as many as
10 books a year. She had to use four or five pen names because
she just kept writing. When you think about it writing is a function
of how fast you type. Because I always say (in my writing book including
that one) if you’re making a rule not to sit down to write if you don’t know what
you’re going to write then you’ll never waste any time and you’ll never have writer’s
block. So simply don’t sit down until you know
what you’re going to write. It’s just a matter of how fast can you type. So it’s better to be walking along the beach
thinking about the structure of your story then it is to be wasting a lot of time sitting
in front of the computer typing stuff and throwing it away and all that stuff. Just figure it all out in your head. “Well what if I forget it?” Well guess what? If you forget it that’s probably good. You are forgetting forgettable things? You won’t forget it when it starts getting
really good. Because then it will do what Faulkner said,
it will start haunting you and you won’t be able to forget it and then you’ll just
write it down. William Saroyan was asked once how long it
took him to write the Human Comedy because somebody had told the journalist it had took
him three days and he said “No, it took me all my life to write it. It just took me a few days to type it out.” So if you’re productive you’ve already
figured out that there are certain things that are completely unproductive such as sitting
in front of a blank screen trying to figure out what to put down next and other ways to
do things that make you productive. And productive people don’t waste their
time. As I said when it comes to waiting, you don’t
wait, you just do something else. You what I call “rotate” from one thing
to another so you still have new energy constantly because you’re switching to new activities. And when you switch to the new activity you
have new energy just because of that. But you’re also pulling energy from the
previous activity, it’s kind of pulling you back and wanting you to do more on it. But that’s good instead of listening to
it and going back and doing more on the previous activity. It’s better to have that kind of little
anxiety going on there because then the next time that activity gets a chance at your time
it will be ready and it will be more productive during that time compartment. So I think that’s the difference between
productive and unproductive people have never figured out how to use time, they don’t
even know how to measure time. And they confuse things. There are two function in life or two entities
that we deal with. One is time and the other is work. And one of them is eternal and timeless and
endless and the other one is not. But people get it wrong. The one that is timeless and endless and eternal
is work not time unless you’re God, you know? But if you’re not God, then guess what? You have a limited amount of time and the
only problem is you don’t know what the limit is but that doesn’t matter because
you just have to operate anyway. But what is infinite is work because good
work produces more work and so does bad work. So no matter what kind of work you’re doing
it keeps going and you cannot manage it therefore because it’s a given that you can’t manage
an infinite thing but you can manage something that is finite and that’s time. So managing time is what we have to do. So let’s say that if you’re writing a
book and you know that you type 7 pages an hour at least then you give yourself one 1
hour every day to write your book. Well at the end of 100 days you’ve got how
many pages? 700 pages right? So it’s not complicated to figure it out. But you’ve got to manage the right thing,
manage your time. Because the work will happen only if you give
it time to attend to it and what happens to the people who procrastinate because they
think they’re trying to manager the work and they don’t know that they can’t manage
the work. Like I’m going to get this work done if
it takes me all summer and then nothing happens (they don’t do it). That isn’t what you should do. You should say “I’m going to work from
seven to eight every morning without fail for five days a week rather than seven days
a week” because your brain revolts when you make it stop something that it’s actually
enjoying. So if you make it stop after the fifth day
it’s very upset and it spends the whole weekend thinking about the project and it’s
really raring to go on Monday when you start again. Whereas if you keep it going, it will get
worn out and it will get bored eventually because that’s what brains do. So there are two kinds of productive people. The unproductive ones, let’s now talk about. I mean they have their own thing going and
I hope they are enjoying life. But productive people are divided into two
kinds and those are the happy ones and the unhappy ones. The unhappy ones are the ones that never figured
out the psychology of creativity and so they are constantly surprised by it and upset by
it. And that’s why you have Virginia Wolf and
Hemingway and Sylvia Plath offing themselves at the end because they’ve never figured
it out. They’ve never figured out at the end of
a project they are going to get depressed and they are going to go into postpartum depression
that they may never come out of. But if you’re on the other side of tings
(the happy productive person) you’ve figured that out all already. So what do you do? Before you end a project, you end another
project and then you can’t wait to get into the new project so you don’t mind finishing
the first project so you’ve eliminated postpartum depression and that’s simply because you’ve
figured out how your creative mind works which is what WRITER’S TIME is all about and that’s
what I mean by happy productive versus unhappy productive people. You don’t have to be miserable and suicidal
to be a writer. You can be perfectly happy by knowing your
system and not letting it do it to you.

100 Comments

  • Stefan Lamb says:

    Preach.

  • Lee_Z says:

    This guy blows my mind.

  • Travel Thoughts says:

    Excellent analysis of productivity. I shall use my time better and start another project as one finishes.

  • Charles Beau de l'Air says:

    Precious information. Thank you.

  • harveythepooka says:

    I honestly don't agree with him. It's not about wrangling time, it's about wrangling yourself. It's all about self-discipline. His comments about Hemingway and Sylvia Plath were dead wrong. They suffered from clinical depression. Even his comments about chipmunks was wrong. They spend the whole summer collecting and storing food for the winter. Their whole life is based on time. The real problem is that we waste time doing stuff like watching this video.

    It's good to head a different perspective, I really like the idea of time as finite, but overall, I don't agree with most of what he said.

  • Ryder E says:

    be a squirrell

  • Waxeye says:

    One of the greatest speeches on youtube, thankyou!

  • HavocHead says:

    This guy is a genius, especially on knowing your screenplay in and out before beginning the writing process. EVEN STARTING A PROJECT BEFORE FINISHING THE PREVIOUS IS GENIUS. Great advice

  • Ross Jukes Photography says:

    10 very useful minutes…

  • Michel Geurts says:

    It teached me to always start something new to maintain momentum! Great insight, like the previous video I watched!

  • Justin Kerns says:

    All my time is spent on YouTube dammit

  • Red Street says:

    Time is short but wide is an excellent analogy.

  • Fat Ass says:

    Smoke crack.

  • Ravindra Jahagirdar says:

    Very real,very convincing argument there. Clarity of thought is truly amazing. There is no way you can't learn at least something worthwhile from this great man. Thank you, I learn from you,sir. Thank you to the interviewer.

  • Ravindra Jahagirdar says:

    Very real,very convincing argument there. Clarity of thought is truly amazing. There is no way you can't learn at least something worthwhile from this great man. Thank you, I learn from you,sir. Thank you to the interviewer.

  • Peter Wilson says:

    168 hours in a week
    – 30 hours at my job (pays bills)
    – 49 hours sleeping (good for health)
    – 5 hours exercising
    – 10 hours buy/prep and eat food
    – 3 hours home maintenance
    – 7 hours leisure/fun/social
    = 64 hours creative work on a project
    What the fuh….Where's all the original output??? Goddamn internet!

  • Apollonian Slumber says:

    HOLY SHIT!
    Now I know why I don't like finishing things. I'm all about the process. It's always a let down when something is completed. Cheers!

  • Jimmy Droid says:

    Time doesn't exist? Try telling that to my boss when I'm late for my dear end job.

  • Gus Y says:

    This is very great and relevant content. Much appreciated and I have subbed.

  • Mike Conde says:

    This is priceless info ! Thank you for sharing

  • Nyre Cary says:

    It taught me the moods I experience in my writing and to stop being so free spirited , loved it 👁️

  • Enixanne says:

    What an invaluable insight on productivity. What I do is actually treat "down time" part of the creative process. This way, even if I'm not working on a project, I don't see it as wasted time.

  • LorenzoNW says:

    Four ads during an 11:00 video. That's bullshit!

  • H.A. S. says:

    The reason creators get suicidal after a project is because they are wrapping up their entire identity in their work. You are not your work. You are far more valuable than your work. God made you for a relationship with him, not your work. The work is something you grow with…

  • timothy790110 says:

    I use an app called "atimelogger" on my phone, its amazing. You set your own categories, and when you get in to it and use it it give you exact times you've spent on all the categories. Accountability.

  • Robert Lopez says:

    I never pay attention to the time. I just do what I feel like doing and all my bills get paid on time and I have hobbies and my work space is constantly in flux.

  • Redina Bloogs says:

    Too many ads don't bother

  • UptownKal says:

    GREAT! Needed to hear this.

  • Jarl Banana says:

    great interviewer for a great mind, amazing!

  • Hillary says:

    How can I manage these commercials?

  • Michael Montgomery says:

    I like this guy.

  • The Resale Boss says:

    I’ll save you some time, 168 hours in a week.

  • R R says:

    too many ads!

  • ARawFueledLife says:

    8:06

  • Felix Stevenson says:

    Very wise man. Analyze what you do with your time. Analyze all your activities and maximize.

  • brokenupsound says:

    There are two types of people in the world: those that make stupid “there are two types of people” comments and those that don’t.

  • brokenupsound says:

    This 11 minutes is a waste of time

  • Inti Peru Cinema says:

    If you are like me and practice this, I feel you. Stay strong..

  • Grant Ivie says:

    These videos are amazing. All of the ads gets very jarring, however. Wish you guys would dial them back a little bit.

  • AnotherAngry Monkey says:

    I know this guy is a legend and I don't even know him yet.

  • Apam Merlo says:

    the amount of add intrusion was distastefull… it cut the conversation every 5 mins… not nice masterclass.

  • ROYCE M says:

    Commercial much? Terrible

  • Dom Dod says:

    I really needed this video, finally some new information and a good perspective

  • Ambient Infinite Video AIV says:

    Time is measured on priorities to attend to. Attempt to accomplish what you can, in how long it may take. It's all in your perception.

  • Dave Gibbs says:

    Thanks!

  • Jagjot Singh says:

    Wow so inspiring! 7 pages a hour will be a dream come true for me. At most I can manage 3 to 4 pages an hour. But eventually I’ll get there.

  • the EQUATION says:

    Time is not a production of humans however we are accurately aware of it so this creates quite a lot of magical thinking. meanwhile, when a nervous system reaches a certain level of development one becomes aware of duration (time). a squirrel does indeed exist in time, even if they are not aware of it. so to say that it does not exist for the squirrel is not factual. part of the human predicament is that we are perceptive of time. that time will run out.

  • Jo L O says:

    Awesome thank you!!

  • Amanda Soberano says:

    How to avoid postpartum depression was really helpful. I just finished a painting last week and gave it away (to someone important to me), but I ended up crying over it. It seems silly, but I missed my painting and I had felt lost for the past 3 days. But now I have a new project nagging at me in my mind, so I am now excited to get started on it. Everything he said about not waiting and starting a new project right before finishing the current one all makes sense!

  • Rick Jones says:

    Time is more valuable than any jewelry, gold or material wealth. Use it wisely because no matter what we cannot get it back

  • Marcos Santana says:

    Thank you!

  • The Klog Poetry Channel says:

    Excellent video.

  • Dan Alcaraz says:

    As a creative writer I believe your insights were exact. I think you have expressed the method all writers go through when creating literature . 🤙🏿

  • kanolemaster says:

    Toooo many commercials. Im out

  • Darío Saquetti says:

    If you live in a small town 10 minutes away from work, or maybe not working whatsoever, all those nice theories might work. If. You live in a big city taking 2 hours at least to commute, starting 9 am, having to cook, do personal admin, kids and so on, you can take any time management course in the world that the maths won't add up.

  • IAN THESEIRA says:

    If you subscribe to a warped value system, then even murder or thievery, when performed successfully (with finesse? Which may only mean that reverberating backlash takes longer to be felt) has a base value to it that can (or must?) be appreciated? This is primarily due to a corrupt justice system, on top of a range of other warped entities and profiles (buckling under the weight of disabled masses. that subscribe (patronize) to such systems of power and control.

  • Michael says:

    Wasting time watching Youtube with way too many adverts.

  • IO Odyssey says:

    Not going to waste my time watching this!!!

  • Michael says:

    This was perfect for me. Thanks for sharing!

  • Skalicky Music says:

    too many ads 3 in first 5 min

  • Arrin Stoner says:

    Had to shut it off immediately because the guy clearly has no concept of what time is. Time is not a human construct, time exists objectively outside the realm of the human brain. If all humans disappeared from existence time would persist. Yes, I understand humans have localized time in coordination with our sun and other physical properties in our local region but time is a feature that is everywhere in the known universe. Even in a black hole time exists in one form or another possibly in variations. Time is necessary in order for the universe to exist and eventually wind down and run out its course. Time could be a side affect of entropy.

    And no, we all do not have the same amount of time, some more some less. Some die early, some die old, some are disabled, some are healthy, etc. We all do not know how much time we actually have. It could end today.

  • Melanholix Music says:

    Great stuff, very helpful!

  • Heather Whiteley says:

    I grew up in the 80s without TV. When my siblings and I did something atypical, like memorising 50 digits of pi for fun, or making up songs, people would tell us, "you have too much time on your hands." It was really annoying, because it felt like an insult, but it seemed like the wrong behavior to be insulting.

  • Cynthia Lenz says:

    "Five days a week is better than seven days a week because your brain revolts when you make it stop doing something that it's actually enjoying. So, if you make it stop after the fifth day, it will be very upset and it will spend the whole weekend thinking about the project and it is really raring to go on Monday when you start again. Whereas, if you keep it going, it will get worn out. It will get bored eventually- because that's what brains do."

  • SaintDominicMusic says:

    Seemed to be of great insight, but couldn't finish the video because of the (ad starting………) ads that seemed to appear every 3 minutes. Definitely distracted from the (ad starting………) content you provided.

  • Steven D'Andrea says:

    Not to beat myself up when I can't work seven days a week. Take a short break and let my batteries recharge. Love the process.
    Thank you for this video!

  • Keith Rosemond II says:

    Oh my goodness I always wondered why I felt so down after completing a big art project! I can’t wait to try his strategy of starting another project before it ends. I thank God for you all keep up the great content!

  • L.PhaChino says:

    Thank you for this!

  • L.PhaChino says:

    4:03 who does he mention?

  • triclone123 says:

    Kind of black and white view, overly simplistic. Different people often have different productivity benchmarks. A writer might be able to produce 300 pages of work a day and feel very productive, and another writer might produce 150 pages of work a day and feel very productive. If you evaluate the 300 page work of the first writer, and you find that the quality is garbage, and then you find better quality from the writer of 150 pages per day, then the 150 page per day writer is more productive than the writer that produced the highest volume. Of course most of us think that what we do is great, especially speed obsessed folks. Some things that I think that should probably matter: 1) You have to know when being too fast decreases the quality of your work, keep a balance. 2) Try to finish what you start IF you can before starting new projects, IF possible. Yes, I used two " IF"s and I did not mean to waste your time. 3) Be careful when someone claims to be productive all the time, you might have a con-artist in front of you. 100% productivity claims are bs most of the time. 4) The word "bored" should have never existed. Let's donate it to the monkeys.

  • ClintBeastwood says:

    I’m glad he said take a day or two to reset your mind because a lot of people say you should work everyday. But even God rested on the 7th day

  • Raven says:

    I work 40 hours, sleep an average of 56 hours. Where TF are the other 72 hours going lol

  • Writer Brandon McNulty says:

    "Don't sit down until you know what you're going to write" is scary accurate.

    I've had many days where I sat down to write without a concrete plan and waffled there for hours. But when I know where to take my scenes, I end up hammering things out without a hitch.

  • Schott Music says:

    awesome! reminds me of the 80/20% rule

  • Dom Naomi says:

    The last two minutes has me mind blown 🤯 wow

  • Denee Pikari says:

    This video quite literally just changed the course of my life. Realising I was just a productive- Unhappy creative because I didn’t understand how my creative mind works was like finding a key I’ve been searching for my entire life that I didn’t even know I needed to find. I could never figure out why I’d always get so depressed after I’d finished a creative project… to know it’s kind of normal was the medicine my mind needed to relax.

  • Sweet Starr says:

    Immensely insightful. I learned in this video not be scared to create. I've been paralyzed in fear of creating and it not being accepted. The imaginary thought has been weighing on me. Lots of ideas not written out. Sometimes because so many ideas came to mind. It's too overwhelming to think they should all come to fruition. Although they're all worth working on. Especially if I dedicate 1 hour per 5days a week. Period. Great advice.

  • Geno Gwap says:

    Damn this guy is smart

  • Destiny Monique says:

    To pay attention and be intentional with what I do.

  • Heartbreak Art says:

    I've made two short animation films, really wanted to make more but I can't be bothered. The productivity stopped for me….

  • NHMO OYTIS says:

    I just had my 50 year reunion and pretty young people with unlimited opportunity are now wrinkle jobs retired from their careers or in the glide path to it. I assure you TIME is not an illusion. Nor is gravity :(.

  • NHMO OYTIS says:

    When I subtracted time I sleep, eat, wank and stare into space I mean do Zen meditation there wasn’t a whole lot left….no, seriously, this is TRUTH. I SUBCONSCIOUSLY mull all the time, when it’s ready out it pops. I like this guy! But I write longhand then have to transfer to the puter and damn I hate to type.

  • Peter Gaal says:

    So these creative or so called prodactive people are simply manic depressive and they always have to work on a project and be concerned about time. Must be hard! Healthy people can enjoy simply waste a bit of time with their friends and family without without worrying about finishing some stupid project, make another million etc.

  • jrcenina85 says:

    Is it proven that only humans keep track of birthdays?

  • Polite Q says:

    I have seen a few of these sorts of yacker guys dismiss the unproductive people, "let's not talk about them"….well, who else would click on a video with a title such as this one? Maybe they are looking for help to change! The productive people have already made it, there's less to tell them.

  • Supreme Kream says:

    This advice is invaluable!!

  • Tim 'Hyper' says:

    Every video on this channel adds so much relatable value

  • AJ Taylor says:

    The best thing Dr. Atchity said in this interview is about how your work is more timeless than time itself. If you want to accomplish great work, understand and value the amount of time you get each day and make it worth something. Don't sit and wait like the work will do itself, and expect to be praised for absolutely nothing. Wasting time costs more in the end than the amount of work you put in to get something done, so don't waste time.

  • Erdem Oz says:

    I just can't believe the amazing insight! So simple, yet seems so profound.

  • Robert Kay Sr says:

    Time is more than life.. that clicked with me.
    Time is finite, work is infinite, never thought about it in that way..

    Thank you for the upload.

  • saremus says:

    Very interesting. But what if a deadline is right around the corner and you have to produce pages? What to do then?

  • Djmartindus says:

    We sometimes never learn from a early age to manage time. In our later life it’s hard to adjust… great video

  • ManyHousePlants says:

    Too many Advertisements

  • J410music says:

    Yes! "Good work produces more work."

  • NOSEEUM PRODUCTIONS says:

    I agree with this entirely

  • Mediamessengers says:

    After my dad (my mentor) died I started getting up at 5am to work. In the past 3 years I've done a lot! Time is short!

  • AquariusAsf says:

    I learned that my process is all that matters and it may vary or be similar to someone else. But the end result is what works for me. And I love that he spoke on not starting to write until you know exactly what it is you want to write. I do that all the time, and I like how there is a confirmation coming from a professional I am now a fan of. Thank you for your post.

  • Joseph Cusumano says:

    One of the best clips I've seen yet. Incredibly helpful!. Thanks!

  • magicman 2501 says:

    Work is infinite and unmanageable. Time though can be manageable because it's finite.

  • Isaac Barlow says:

    I wish I had more time…lol.
    My writing habits are as follows. I write whenever I get a chance. During the week, I go to work and leave my place 3 hours before I have to be at work. (5:30am) I get to a place to write get coffee or breakfast and I write until it's time for me to go to work. (7:15 am)
    Writing time, 90mins.

    At lunch, (noon) I take my laptop and eat as fast as I can, I write until it's time for me to go back to work, usually 45 mins.

    After I get back home I rest for an hour grabs something to eat, talk to my wife, then I get to work usually if I’m not sick, but usually write if I'm sick, lol. I write from 8ish to 10ish, about 2 hours of writing time. Then I go to sleep and do it all over again. The weekend, if it is possible I write 7 to 8 hours on Saturday, 5 hours on Sunday. Writing time is 13 hours, then comes the workweek.
    I love to write, and I truly want this life. I want this to be what I do for a living. Justsayin.

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