Over the last year, more and more books are being published that deal with how creative people handle the distractions of modern living in a hi-tech age. Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings recently reviewed the book “The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius” by neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen. Toward the end of the review she mentions the relationship between creative people and distraction:
“Creative people, Andreasen notes, can be more easily overwhelmed by stimuli and become distracted. Some of the writers in her study, upon realizing they had a tendency to be too sociable, employed various strategies for keeping themselves isolated from human contact for sizable stretches of time in order to create. (Victor Hugo famously locked away all his clothes to avoid the temptation of going out while completing The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1830, which he wrote at his desk wearing nothing but a large gray shawl.) And yet for all its capacity to overwhelm, the creative mind remains above all a spectacular blessing:
Our ability to use our brains to get “outside” our relatively limited personal perspectives and circumstances, and to see something other than the “objective” world, is a powerful gift. Many people fail to realize that they even have this gift, and most who do rarely use it.”
There you have it. A neuroscientist confirming that creative people struggle with distraction more than others. As a result, the most successful have created routines and strategies for channelling their distraction into a positive purpose. If you’re checking your Twitter feed while reading this, you may be exactly the type of person we’re talking about.
In fact, I would go so far as to say it’s not the most talented or gifted creatives who achieve success, it’s the ones who’ve created a disciplined routine for getting things done. What about you? What’s the routine that holds back the tsunami of daily distraction and allows you to constructively create?