I mostly write about creativity on my blog. Today I will write about the destroyer of creativity…
I sit down by the computer to be productive. I have my cup of coffee, I have a list of things that I want to go through. Some of the tasks have been on my list for a month now, some longer than that. They are my Next Thing to do, but I never get to them. If keeping a diary is my good habit, a really bad one is to procrastinate (my worst habit I think). Though I am good at it. I’m a great procrastinator, I should get a diploma. I blame it on my brain.
My creative and inventive brain can always come up with new things to do instead of the things I have written down on my list. I get sidetracked, over and over again. I don’t think I’m lazy and I don’t think I’m stupid. I know lots about visualizing, setting goals, being focused, setting an intention… I’m just very very easily distracted by surfing blogs; it is a computer habit I have attained that I can’t get out of.
Mindless Clicking Around = Wasting time
My computer time is often spent visiting my favorite blogs all day! And it doesn’t even have to be the ones I want to check in on (my friends) or the collaborative kind of blogs that I enjoy reading articles at and being inspired by (like Shutter Sister and Zen habits etc), sometimes it spend time clicking around at the flickr site (always being a nice girl and commenting) or finding “new blogs” that interest me by clicking from one post to another. In this way I spend hours. And I do not get my shit together. I get sidetracked by these amazing new finds; creative people that has written article after article on subjects I’m very interested in – linking on to others that looks like I’d like what they have to say too…
Habits are, as you know, difficult to create when you want to create a them intentionally. They are equally hard to break when it’s something you do without thinking (as you tend to do all the time, and hence creating that bad habit without even knowing what you’re doing). So even with the best of intentions and a cup of freshly fetched coffee, I click away.
I open too many windows and in Firefox I open to many tabs. And when I notice that I’m sidetracked again I try to come back, but it’s not as easy as when you meditate. Then you notice your thoughts are wondering (monkey mind) and go back to the breath. Close your eyes for a second and start over. But your computer screen – it’s a mess all of a sudden. When you notice that you have 15 tabs open that you clicked open to check out and/or read you can’t close your eyes because they will not disappear. I opened them for a reason. To check out, read, tag, print or use as reference later. I need a system to help me out of this mess!
The online squirrel in me
Have you noticed how a big amount of your online time is spent being a squirrel? Running around, up and down the tree, collecting nuts for the winter. Hearting (♥) your favorite sellers and items at Etsy, hearting (♥) beautiful photos at flickr, bookmarking stuff in your browser or using different online services (like delicious). Collecting “friends” at different communities like they were trophies to hang on the wall, contacts that you don’t know or care for at facebook, twitter, flickr, delicious, etsy… Collecting tutorials for crafts, patterns and ideas that “inspires” us….
When will the winter come when we will have the time to snuggle up in our tree house and go through all of these nuts? Probably never.
At twitter I’m being added by famous people like Mark Montano yesterday! What the… I didn’t even like his book The Big-Ass Book of Crafts. And today Jennifer Worick (probably recommended by Mr Tweet to be a part of her expanding craft community perhaps?) added me! Me, a nobody. Jennifer is a woman who has written articles in cool magazines and lots of cool looking books that I wish I’d written, instead of “clicking around” for years now.
Tools is not enough
Those e-mails are difficult to me. They flood my inbox and I don’t like it. I never go there to write the answers to all of those e-mails. I just browse through and click und so weiter… I saw a tips on lifehack from the article How to Be Awesome at Followup where they mention marking the letters you will want to respond to later! That is such a great idea – why didn’t I think of that earlier? I don’t use gmail but yahoo have a little flag too that you can click and then highlight the e-mail that you want to respond to! I’ve tried this and it does make it easier knowing what you have to do, but not easier getting there.
I’ve also started to “unsubscribe” to a few mailinglists, like Lisa’s list and TUT every day, even though I like them. I’m always impressed by what Lisa accomplishes – she is a role model for anyone who wants to have a business online. She sends out her newsletter once a week I think, and she always has links to her own websites in them. Links to new art, new challenges, new downloadables, new stuff to buy and look at. I think that should be me, but it never is. I have a newsletter and it never gets updated because my etsy doesn’t get updated! How can I sell stuff when nothing happens on these parts of the wood?
Although I did add two new notebooks to my Etsy Shop today, just to try to feel like I’m doing something. It’s the Storietimes for young ones and a great gift for the nurse friend in your life; The Florence Nightingale Notebook! Patting myself on the back. Please check them out.
Respecting your time
So, it’s time for some changes again. After reading and reviewing David Allen’s book Getting Things Done last year I’ve become better at maintaining a list of things that is improtant to me. The Next Action list (I have a notebook for it!!!) is great, but only if you look at it and tick of things from it!
I’m pondering my new rules as I write this. I will not be able to completely stop this or that, I need to put restrictions on what I can do (that I shouldn’t do) and have rules about what I should have done (the list!) before I can mindlessly surf or click around! Today I was at a thrift shop looking for a new vintage book to alter as my Art Journal. I found a beautiful one about the ocean, and I also bought Wayne Dyer’s old book (from 1976!) ?lska dig sj?lv – inte s?mre ?n man g?r sig translated from English Your Erroneous Zones. I will start reading it right now.
I was thinking that this post would end in a kind of statement. A descision or a set of rules to live by. But I feel I need to step away from this subject for now and think about it for a while. I will read the articles I’ve found and close the tabs I’ve opened. Regroup. How to keep updated and informed without all this mindless clicking?
Please, add your advice, thoughts or ideas.
* Getting Things Done – this great book by David Allen is a must-read!
* Mastering the art of prioritization
* Big Rocks First: Double Your Productivity This Week
Developing Creative Momentum: Cultivating Positive Habits and Rituals
7 Ways Being Unbalanced Can Make You More Productive!