Dealing with Distractions
Distractions – the inner diversions which keep us entertained – are among the largest drains of creative energy. Diversions keep us entranced and prevent us from tapping into our innovative resources. When some of our attention is occupied by the past or future, we prevent ourselves from being focused on the present.
What else douses your innovation? What keeps you distracted and wandering? Following are some typical innovation dousers:
- Relying on a single idea or plan to see your project through.
Getting really worried
- Anxiety makes the creative flame burn in all the wrong places.
Not having fun
- When you stop having fun, the task becomes burdensome.
Getting easily frustrated
- The harder you work at being frustrated, the better you’ll get at it.
- Making your challenge so important that you allow it to ruin the rest of your life.
Knowing the right answers
- You’re so convinced that you have all the answers, that you stop entertaining alternatives.
Running it through a committee
- Committees can destroy individual initiative. Relying on a committee means you deny responsibility-therefore, the thrill of the risk is gone.
- Having too many meetings to “discuss it” (actually listen to individual agendas) wastes time and doubles the cost.
Setting inappropriate deadlines
- Make them too short and you make the task impossible;
- Too long and you lose interest in the project.
Fortunately, reclaiming our mental energy can be a relatively simple act. Relaxing our muscles and concentrating on our breathing will help to center attention. Do a mind dump.
Take a piece of paper and as quickly as you can, write down any issues that come to mind. It doesn’t matter how pressing or trivial each concern is. If one comes to mind, write it down. Keep writing until you have nothing more to write.
When you’re done, take a step back, look at your list and acknowledge that you will deal with these concerns at the appropriate time.
This activity undermines the power to distract you. Now, you can give yourself fully to the innovative activity you want to focus on.
Another great approach to dealing with distractions is to get clear on what inspires your innovative side. What keeps you really focused and intensely determined? Build more of this into your day. Following are some examples:
- Nothing sharpens the attention better than demands.
- Having a great time makes the juices flow.
- Jumping right into a situation with both feet.
- Doing it as fast as you can.
Shooting from the hip
- Starting without a plan and applying ideas as they come to you.
- A real risk without a safety net.
Feeling the crisp bite of fear/dread
- But going ahead with it anyway. The threat of failure lights a fire like no other.
- Taking pleasure in success and accomplishment.
- The rush of the deadline.
- Feeling bold, standing out in the crowd and getting noticed.
Trust in last-minute inspiration
- Having faith in your ability to pull the project out of the fire.
- Loosening up the grip of life’s worries.
- Having a private time and space to contemplate your navel.
©The Human Factor, Inc. All rights reserved.