It seems like whenever I sit down to do a task that requires brainstorming and planning (like writing a blog post), it’s a lot harder to stay focused. Maybe that’s just the ‘ol ADHD kickin’ in, but I’m guessing I’m not the only one out there who has a hard time when it comes to staying focused while mapping out a project. I can sit and stare at a blank screen for hours, and nothing will come to me. Yet there are times when I do some really amazing brainstorming, and I’ve found some constants that are always present when I go on those idea-hatching spurts. The main constant: you need to be doing something else.
The mind is a fickle thing. I’ve found that the brain does not like to be told when to be creative. If you tell it to think, it won’t. But if you’re doing a small task that doesn’t require much thinking, you can bet your mind is working overtime, and it’s working on something completely different than what is in front of you. Here’s an example: last week I drove to my parents house and went running in the country. During the run and half-hour drive each way, I managed to come up with 10 blog posting ideas. They just came to me. I wasn’t thinking about driving because I’ve driven that route a hundred times, and I wasn’t thinking about running because I run all the time, and it’s a fairly automated process.
The trick is planning for times when your mind can wonder. It’s during these times that you’ll be the most creative. While you excercise, driving, household chores, taking a walk, at the beach… this is when you’ll find creativity oozing out of your brain. Odds are you may not even notice that you’re being really creative and productive. If you can become aware of that and always have something close by to write your ideas down on, you’re set.
A wandering mind can be a very, very good thing. You just have to be ready for it.