“If you're lonely when you're alone, you're in bad company.”
- Jean-Paul Satre
There can be no question that we live in an age of distraction. Social media, emails, and easy access to entertainment online can all hinder our concentration and affect our productivity.
On the one hand, used well, social media can help your creativity. You may find some great ideas and inspiration, and it can be a place for learning and expanding your knowledge, as well as meeting other creatives, but imagine what you could achieve if you spent half an hour less everyday trawling through your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.
After all, people have been creating long before social media came along.
A half an hour a day may not seem a lot, but it adds up to three and a half hours a week, or one hundred and eighty hours a year.
This is dependent on your age, but if you spent half an hour a day on social media for the next fifty years you’ll have spent just over an entire year of your life on social media alone (let alone other distractions!).
Every single wasted minute is a minute wasted on your creativity. It takes just a minute to jot down some ideas, maybe ten minutes to quickly sketch a painting, 20 minutes to outline a blog post (these obviously vary, but you get the point).
Turn off your phone or computer for a whole day. Unless you’re expecting a very important phone call (and let’s face it, unless you’re a surgeon on call, you’re probably not), you can afford to disconnect for 24 hours.
If for some reason you can’t afford to disconnect for so long, try only checking quickly checking your social media and email every few hours. The important thing to remember is not to engage or react.
If you find yourself getting bored, go for a walk (social media is harder when you’re walking around!).
Ask yourself if the internet is compromising the time you could be spent working. What internet services are most distracting to you? What are the optional technologies you could use less?
After all, wouldn’t you rather get your book written, your painting painted or your garden remodelled rather than find out which 90’s movie character you most resemble?
Extract from the forthcoming book Think It! Make It! by Richard P John