“I wasn’t losing my focus but I was getting tired of focusing. What I was focusing on was becoming too routine, too ritual, not something that was interesting, new and exciting.”
— Picabo Street
Here’s a short video essay on a possible answer for why we’re so easily distracted these days. It’s by Adam Westbrook. Check it out and take some time to reflect.
When we really need to hunker down and really focus on the task at hand this is a huge problem. Especially when our behavior online leaks into our behaviour in meatspace.
What I’ve noticed however when working with creatives is that this isn’t always a problem. For most of them it’s actually become an asset.
While they previously would’ve settled for a much more obvious and quick answer to a creative problem, they now know that there’s an abundance of “links” they can make to other concepts and ideas.
Not all of them are conscious of this change but as an outside observer it’s quite easy to see.
The key here is to use the elements of distraction purposefully. We need to be able to flip the switch into focus-mode as well.
By my desk I’ve got a poster that constantly helps remind me of which mode I’m supposed to be in.
While the “left brain/right brain” dichotomy is false, it’s still a helpful way of simplifying and looking at how we should be switching between the two modes.
Being critical and being creative. Being focused and being peripheral.
When we need to gather ideas our peripheral/creative vision is highly useful, when we need to assess which ones are useful and unique we need to be focused/critical.
Right now we’re leaning heavily into distraction, we’re going wide. Soon we’ll realize that it’s becoming too big a problem and we start narrowing our focus.
We’ll start seeing websites and our technology adapt and change to fit that state instead. Also, we’ll probably go too far down that route as well. To the point where we’re so narrow and focused that we’ll start feeling too restricted.
The truth is that there’s room for both, we just need to find ways of balancing the scales.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!