Phish: Our Productive Distraction

Me productive at work because of Phish melting face

There are a lot of reasons I consider myself lucky to be a Phish fan. One huge reason is the fact that Phish provides a great distraction for me–in doing so, it keeps me more productive than I would otherwise be. I know that might seem illogical, but it’s not.

When I’m at work, my tasks usually revolve around reading, thinking, or dealing with people–not the times Phish helps me. I usually don’t listen to anything but news while I’m at work because I can ignore it to think or talk to people as I wish (unless it’s Paris Hilton news, of course). The time when their music helps me with productivity is when I have things to complete that have to do with organizing or computer-related tasks–redundant things.

It hit me today (and many times in the past) when I was plugging various numbers into a spreadsheet. It’s a task I probably have to do for record keeping once or twice a month. Before I opened my Google Spreadsheet, I notified certain people that they could contact me via my office phone extension (I can see the red light flash) or email. Since our IT manager recently asked me to remove the Phish shows I had on my work computer (it was taking up too much space on our server or something–pretty weak server if you ask me), I only had what I had on my phone to work with. I turned on 8/13/10 from the beginning and started plugging my numbers in.

6.19.09 Deer Creek (L. Gierhahn)

I have one main daily distraction at work–any idea? The Internet. When I switch between Gmail, work, Facebook, work, Online Phish Tour, work, etc, I become horribly inefficient. The reason why Phish’s music is a productive distraction is because it allows only my ears to be tied up–not my keyboard and computer screen. Phish lets my mind focus on something other than work while allowing my eyes and hands to complete what needs to get done.

I know what some will say, “well, any music can be a productive distraction by that logic”–not true. Other people like to hear music while they work, but most people don’t have anything to listen to–think of it as the difference between seeing and watching, in one you are passively taking part and the other you are actively taking part. Listening to, for instance, the Gotta Jibboo -> Bathtub Gin (awesome segue, by the way) from Deer Creek 2010 was mentally captivating; few people nowadays have things that can captivate them without using their eyes. The music paints a mental picture (to use clich├ęs); it gives you something to think about. You can think to yourself, “oh man, I wonder what Trey was thinking there!”, or, “I wonder where this is going” all while plugging away at work (or homework, for some).

6.19.09 Deer Creek (L. Gierhahn)

For those of you that think I’m crazy, think of it this way: listening to Phish becomes the main activity of mine while the work I desire to accomplish simply just becomes a stimulant for the rest of my body. I actively listen to Phish while my passive activity becomes work. I don’t think most fans realize how lucky they are to have nearly endless music from a band that allows for that type of listening.

Phish might have made me productive today, but it certainly caused an error during an email. A client asked me to send her my contact information; when I meant to write “Phone: ###-###-####”, I wrote “Phish: ###-###-####”. Serious.

Does anyone get what I’m saying? I feel like this idea is just going to get people’s eyes rolling. I wrote about a similar concept, but how it applies to working out, here.