You may agree that our American culture is oriented to what the next new shiny object/show/music/trend is. We jump from one thing to the next new thing, and for the next new person. We often forget to reconnect and rebuild old relationships/clients/referral sources and friends, and instead think – if only I could meet “name here”, I could move forward. We often think that we’re stuck, that we don’t see the path ahead, and we really don’t know how to start. We are so used to relying on Google for information that we forget that we can learn from others with experience. We are easily distracted by the banner ads: “20 best recipes for weight loss & perfect health”. I want that, don’t you?

Perhaps our distractibility is caused by too much computer time and not enough conversation and thinking time. When is the last time you sat down with a friend over coffee or a glass of wine, and really shared what’s on your mind? When is the last time you set aside a whole chunk of time, at least three hours, to meet with yourself and either think, write, paint, solve a problem – and then another three hours to think even deeper? I think that true creativity requires time, and that in the absence of enough time, our solutions are repetitious and typical of other previously developed ideas.

In addition to not having enough time to think things through, we also try to do too many things at the same time. When you’re a college student, you think that you can write a term paper while watching TV. The behavior stays ingrained, but the endless time of college is past. In today’s deadline driven world, how do we work efficiently and effectively? A clear focus on the task at hand leads to efficient work output. The constant interruptions of the modern open workspace increase collaboration, but perhaps at a cost of inefficiency and lost trains of thought.

Do interruptions drive you crazy? Have you found any techniques (besides tuning out completely with ear buds) that allow for accessibility and collaboration, but that also send the message not to interrupt you?

Once you stay focused on one task at a time, you may find that being more efficient can buy you some of the unprogrammed time that can lead to innovation. Promise yourself that you’ll set aside real time for thinking and creativity, or for a real connection with someone you care about, maybe someone who isn’t “new and shiny” but who may have real and lasting value in your life.

Please share your ideas about multi-tasking, avoiding interruptions, and about setting aside a big chunk of time for a real experience away from a computer.

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