Procrastinators always get a bad rep. They don’t do what they should when they should. They are always distracted by something that’s not on their list. But did you know that distractions can be a good thing for your creativity?
I know it might sound counterproductive, but letting yourself become distracted can help you in a number of ways.
So this week we’re going to talk about why distractions are sometimes a welcome friend to the creator – and how they can help you with your creative process.
And yes, I realize how backwards that sounds. Trust me when I say it’s not. Your distractions may be just the thing you need to harness for your creativity to explode.
Why Distractions Are (Sometimes) A Good Thing
They can help you focus on what’s really important
That’s right, I said it. Maybe what you’re trying to do isn’t as important as you think it is.
Sometimes as creators, especially if we are self-employed creators or just learning a new craft, we think that our to do list is the dictator of our projects. Don’t think that way! We get into the creative arts to be creative and have more freedom, not to box ourselves in!
If you’ve been trying to finish a project for a while and keep getting distracted, take note of where those distractions keep leading you. Have you been more focused on another project? Maybe another medium has wormed its way into your field of view and is demanding attention?
Whatever the reasons are, don’t ignore them. They may be telling you that your time is being spent in the wrong place.
Maybe you need a break
Distractions may be your mind’s sneaky way of telling you to step back and take a day for yourself.
It may be that the project you’ve been working on is frustrating you, or maybe it’s that you’ve been spending too much time on it. Losing focus can be from plenty of things, but think back to when you last took some time for yourself.
If it’s been a while, there’s a chance that being distracted if your mind telling you it’s time for a break.
And a break isn’t always a bad thing! Again, look at the things that have been distracting you and spend some time focusing on that instead, whether it’s cleaning, another creative project, family and friends, or some other thing, make the time for it.
Taking a step back from your project can help you refresh and reset, giving you more patience and appreciation for said project. It can give you a new perspective once you’ve had your break, and you may see problems or solutions you couldn’t identify before.
Sometimes you need to step back to see what’s not working
To continue from the point above, let me say this: that frustration you may feel, that thing that you can’t seem to put your finger on, the thing that may be allowing you to become distracted in the first place, that may be a problem with the project itself.
Letting yourself become distracted by something else can help you figure out what it is that’s just not working.
No, I don’t mean you’ll automatically know what’s wrong after you walk away for an hour – but you might.
That’s the power of a good distraction. It gets your mind off your current project completely so that when you come back to it, you feel refreshed and can see the painting, story, whatever, in a new light.
And as much as you may not like it, sometimes it will help you realize that whatever project you’re working on isn’t the one you should be focused on. Maybe it was never working to begin with.
Distractions can bring you inspiration when you least expect it
If you listen to music or watch television while you create, you probably already know how much that can inspire whatever you’re working on.
And that’s a good thing!
You want to glean inspiration from anywhere and everywhere you can to keep your ideas flowing and fresh.
What’s distracting you? Is it your favourite series? The playlist you’re listening to? Maybe a good book you picked up recently?
USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE!
Seriously, some really cool ideas can come to you when you let your mind wander.
The characters in that show or movie or book can help inspire your next project. The lyrics in that song may add extra depth to whatever you’re working on.
The key to allowing yourself to become distracted is making sure that “wasted time” doesn’t actually go to waste. Use whatever inspiration you get from whatever distracted you and put it toward your projects somehow.
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