Never ever disturb someone who has momentum. It’s almost as bad as waking a sleepwalker (or so I’ve heard).

Let me explain what I mean with momentum. It’s when you’re in the zone, when you have flow. Everything just works; you run extra fast, lift something heavier than ever before, ideas come popping up, you solve problems that seem destined to be unsolved, you’re the man!

My advice to you is to let yourself, or others, have that moment, to own it. For some people it happens often, for others it’s a rare occurrence. But the thing is, we all desperately need them. It’s when we grow, when we feel proud, when we ourselves, or others, adore us.

The worst thing is to make anyone who have momentum lose focus. In their mind they know they are just about to achieve (to some extent) greatness, and then you come, interrupt them, and it will all come crumbling down. A great moment turned into a letdown, a failure. Picture coding something really complex, lifting very heavy weights, spurting across the road despite the oncoming traffic, having hot steaming sex. You certainly don’t want to break off any of that, now would you?

So, when you feel that it is coming on, or if your spouse, colleague or child are displaying the signs of being super-extra-focused, just go with it! Spoil yourself and everyone around you with a healthy dose of momentum, go carpe diem and just let it evolve!


PS. Apparently, sometimes I seem to be naked when I have momentum… πŸ™‚ DS.


  • Steven Clark says:

    Studies show, and I'm too busy to drag up the references, that it can take up to an hour to get back into normal workflow after being interrupted – usually for trivialities like 'do you know the phone number of X'. Its one of the real reasons why open plan work environments suck in real life, collaboration is all good and well but if some people are only getting 2 hours real work done in a day then the trade-off isn't worth it.

    Don't you just love it when you're in the middle of something complicated you're making for the client, there are about 20 variables you're subconsciously tracking, and the phone rings with the obligatory 20 minute conversation about the big picture lol.

    I understand your pain Robert – buy a growly bear sign and put it on a real office door.

  • Pat says:

    Nice post Robert. It's all too true. I hate being interrupted while for example, coding.. especially when I'm in that place where my fingers are typing faster than my brain. Ohhhh, the feeling.. then, out of nowhere I hear, "Hone-ey", with no answer from me; honey turns to "Pat!", and you have no other choice then to break the momentum, and come back to your computer with a blank stupid stare on your face πŸ™

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Yes, There are a number of studies, and just looking how it works in practice, you do get less productive. But, in all fairness, this was as much a post to me to stop me from bothering my co-workers all the time too. πŸ™‚


    I constantly have that blank stare in front of the computer, so it's hard to blame anyone else… πŸ™‚

    Besides, no one ever starts with "honey" when they're calling for me. πŸ™‚

  • Ross Johnson says:

    I agree completely. I work in an open environment, and for some aspects of creativity it is great. However for productivity, it tends to be horrible… there have been days upon days where I found myself thinking "god I wish I had a door."

    My newest tactic is to put headphones on, even if I am not listening to anything. People seem less likely to bother me when it looks like I can't hear them, and they would have to tap me on the shoulder.

  • Steven Clark says:

    an interesting human quirk is that if person A is sitting at his computer and needs a phone number which will take 40 seconds to retrieve we quite predictably lean to our co-worker and ask for the number hoping to get it in 20 seconds!

    Unfortunately that just pulled the co-worker out of the zone and lost many more minutes of productive flow in their momentum.

    mmm my partner puts headphones on – I am rather thick at getting hints πŸ™‚

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Yes, for social and creative reasons, it's great. But you definitely become less productive.

    And definitely, headphones seem to be the key in any place I've worked at at lest the last five year or so.


    I think people have to be more blunt, to prevent momentum disturbance. πŸ™‚

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