When I need to get really difficult work done, I have to retreat completely from society. I described it in 2006 as this:
- In the daytime, do social / communication / email things for about eight hours.
- Sleep for four hours, wake up at around midnight.
- Do project work in the dead of the night, for about eight hours, music blaring
- Sleep for four hours, wake up around noon.
In practice, the broad pattern is that I just detach from a regular schedule and try to deeply immerse myself in the problem space without worrying about other people for a change. I don't like doing it, but sometimes it's necessary to really go deep. I thought I was being weird for years until I reread Twyla Tharp's book The Creative Habit again and found I had missed an important insight from chapter 12!
"When I look back on my best work, it was inevitably created in what I call The Bubble. I eliminated every distraction, sacrificed almost everything that gave me pleasure, placed myself in a single-minded isolation chamber, and structured my life so that everything was not only feeding the work but subordinated to it. It is not a particularly sociable way to operate. It’s actively anti-social. On the other hand, it is pro-creative."