Remember last week when I said Matt Gemmell was on fire lately? Well, the flame burns on. This time he’s writing about digital distractions and ruthlessly doing what we can to avoid them in order to crank out our best creative work.

This fits inline with the aforelinked piece about ego depletion.

Consider: You’re sitting at your desk, trying to accomplish a creative task. Meanwhile your phone is buzzing about once every 3 or 4 minutes, your Twitter stream is flowing in the background, and your email inbox is dinging each time a new email comes in.

In that scenario, you’re fighting against more than just distractions. Even if you can simply dismiss each notification out of your mind in a split-second, that is still a choice you’ve made — am I going to pay attention or not — and thus it has drawn on those cognitive resources you need to complete the creative task at hand.

Heck, so long as we’re on the subject… this is also why working within constraints so often breeds creativity. When you have a wide open canvas with unlimited time and resources, you’ve got too many decisions to make. If you’re dealing with time, budget, and canvas constraints then many of the project’s decisions have already been made for you, thus freeing up your cognitive resources to focus on how to best creatively solve the problem at hand.

August 2, 2013