3 Ways To Gain Creative Focus
Today's episode of the accident created podcast is brought to you by fresh books. Joined the twenty four million people who've used fresh books. Try it free for thirty days with no catch and no credit card required. This good afresh books dot com slash accidental. Looking about the production at the beginning mix. Doug agenda at the beginning. The luggage. Dunkin hugging everyone. Welcome to the accident. Chris podcast. My name is Todd Henry, I am your host. There are four finite resources at your disposal that you spend on behalf of things that you do. And how you spend those four finite resources determine your success or failure. And this is by the way, true of individuals as well as organizations how an organization chooses to spend these four resources will ultimately determine whether or not they deliver the value. They're supposed to deliver to their clients to their stakeholders and these four finite resources are focus assets time and energy focus is about how you allocate your finite. Attention assets are your finite resources. We all have finite resources that are disposal time is obviously time. It's the currency productivity. But many of us spend our time efficiently, though, not effectively. And finally, we have energy and energy is about how we bring ourselves to our work. It's about managing our ability to re. Really bring ourselves emotionally to the labor that we do. Well, the one resource that I often hear people struggling with the most is time. We've talked about time recently on the show, and I've talked about some methods for blocking your time managing your time. But we haven't really talked a lot about focus today. Let's talk about three ways to gain creative. Focus. Maybe you feel like you're overwhelmed. Maybe you feel stuck maybe you feel like you just can't make progress on a project, and it's because you're having difficulty with your focus. And so today, I want to talk about three very simple ways that you can gain cre- the focus and gained some traction on your project before we dive animal let you know. Today's episode is brought to you by fresh books. So do you remember when you started your small business, and we have a lot of small business owners who listen to the show? It's no small feat. It's really difficult to start a small business. It takes a lot of late nights. A lot of early mornings and the occasional all nighter in the bottom line is you've been insanely busy ever says. So why not make things? A little bit easier on yourself our friends at fresh books have the solution fresh books invoicing and accounting software is designed specifically for small business owners. It's simple. It's intuitive. 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Join the twenty four million people who've used fresh books, you can try it free for thirty days with no catch and no credit card required. All you have to do go to fresh bookstop com slash accidental and interactional creative. And the how did you hear about a section? That's fresh books dot com slash accidental and interactional creative in the how did you hear about the section with fresh books for sponsoring this episode of the accidental crave podcast. All right. Let's talk about three ways to gain cre-, the focus. So again, when we talk about focus, we're talking about your finite attention now most people don't think that they have finite attention. They think that they can just bounce from idea to idea project to project that they can absorb all the stimulus that's their field of view without any penalty to anything else doing. And that's not true. You cannot multitask you can rapid task switch, but you cannot multitask at least not with your executive brain. Right. So how we allocate that find that? Attention becomes really really critical to our success, if we're focusing on the wrong things if we're spinning our attention in the wrong areas, then it's going to be really. Difficult for us to gain creative traction if we're spending our attention in the wrong areas. We may not have the stimulus that we need to be able to combine come up with ideas for our most important projects, we make it into creative. Ruts we've talked about the importance of having a really broad and intensive stimulus Q on past episodes. Stimulus Q is essentially a well of resources that you're drawing from to help you stay creatively. Inspired and stimulated by giving. You some dots to connect in your creative process again. That's how creativity works, right? It's about connecting dots about exploring. A Steven Johnson calls it, the adjacent possible the area around a problem playing with ideas, combining ideas and trying them against the problem that you're solving. Well, if you don't have things to play with ideas to play with dots to connect. It's going to be really difficult to explore that adjacent possible right into play around with ideas. And so that's why our attentions really important because where we put our attention often determines the scale and the scope. Hope of the stimulus that we have in our environment. But let's get to the three ways that we can gain creative focus. The first way is to redefine the problems. We're solving now creativity at the heart of it is problem solving. That's what it is a designer Salzer problem by creating a design that solves whatever it is that the customer wants or the client wants, right or the organism wants that's a form of problem solving and design is the tool that we're using to solve that problem in the same way. An engineer solves the problem. Could be a mechanical engineer solves a problem to help design a product or build something that's going to solve a problem for someone else. That is a creative act in entrepreneur solves the problem by filling a white space in the market sees the white space and creates a product that fills it and great that's an act of creativity. Marketing problem-solving, so creativity is problem solving. But the problem is that sometimes as. We're working on the project, we iterative. We we try things we experiment. We learn we fail and we often fail to then reassess the problem, and we get stuck meaning that as we're learning as we're iterating. Sometimes we have to stop step back and say, okay, are we still solving the same problem here? We've learned a lot are we still solving the same problem that we were solving last week or last month or has our understanding of the problem chains. Do we need to redefine the problem? So that we're working on it in a more meaningful way. Now, I know this may be sounds a little bit like navel-gazing rate. If we spend so much time thinking about the work are we actually going to be able to do the work. Are we going to have the resources we need to do the work? Well, I would argue yes. Because here's the thing often a poorly defined problem or an imprecisely defined problem is the very hurdle. That standing between you and breakthrough. It's because your mind is trying to wrap itself around something that's either poorly defined ill defined defined in the way that represented yesterday's knowledge. Not today's knowledge or it's defined in such a way that it's really not solving the problem that your gut is telling you you're trying to solve is your definition of the problem that you're trying to solve right now. Reflective of what you're really trying to do is it precise. Is it does it really help you allocate your attention in the right way or you trying to solve something gets to conceptual again that is Representative of yesterday's knowledge instead of today's knowledge. So the first way that encourage you to experiment around this concept of gaining cre-. The focus is to step back into redefine the problems that you're solving. So if you're working on a design project right now, and maybe a working on it for a couple of weeks. Step back and think okay, if I were to define the problem solving today after. Everything I've been through so far. How would I define that problem now taking into consideration all of the things I've learned over the last couple of weeks of working on this project? Right. Or if you're maybe launching a business, and maybe you set out to do a specific thing or specific set of things you have a problem set, you're working on step back and ask. Okay. If we were to redefine what we're doing today. How would I redefined it? Sometimes we feel stuck because our problems are poorly defined in our minds are wired to solve problems. But they need to have those problems clearly defined in order to be able to do their best work. Okay. So redefine the problem. That's the first very simple method. I encourage you to experiment with in gaining creative. Focus the second is to set some boundaries. Now. I know this sounds and creativity. Right, isn't creativity about wide open spaces and freedom and no boundaries. And let's just explore. And let's what's that phrase get outside of the box, which I hate that phrase. Okay. But let's go outside of the box was think outside the box just experiment wide open spaces. No, actually, that's not terribly helpful to you and your creative process. Orson Welles said that the absence of limitation is the enemy of art. What do you mean by that is that you need some bounding ark? For your creative process in order to focus your creative energy in the right places. If you lack those boundaries than it's often the case that your creative energy will wither and dry dry up on the plane because there's no bounding arc to channel your energy and says sometimes what we really need to do is just set some boundaries. Give you a couple of examples. There was an artist that I read about who at the very beginning of her. I think it was a it was a sheep the beginning of every new canvas that she would paint. She would put just some sort of arbitrary line on the campus. I mean, just take a brush and just and just make a line on the canvas in an arbitrary place. And it was there together started because a blank canvas is very intimidate. But a canvas with a lion on it or a canvas with some Mark on it suddenly gives you a starting point. So it was a kind of artificially imposed boundary that she would set for herself in order to help her create ardor to get started on her art instead of just staring at a blank canvas. I was watching recently a Peter Gabriel documentary about the making of the album. So it's a fascinating documentary. I think it's on Netflix. Maybe it's called classic albums or something. And they were talking about how they were working at Peter Gabriel's country like an old cow barn that have been turned into a studio, you know, and all of these people basically came to the countryside in England, and they were working on this on this project and Peter Gabriel said that he had arbitrarily decided that they would not use a hi hat or symbols on this record. And he was asking why why did you decide that? And he said, well, I just needed some creative boundaries for myself. I needed a creative challenge in order to channel my energy in the right place. And even though his producer later talked him out of that. That and said, no, we need to have high. We need to have symbols of there were other boundaries. They put in place instead of that in order to sort of channel creative energy in the right way. So if you impose some sort of boundary on yourself, right or or take away something you've been overly reliant on it. Instead push yourself to try to express yourself in different ways in new ways. If you're working on a long arc project, and you've been sort of going about it the same way try to take a different course of action today or tomorrow, try to stretch yourself use different muscles and see if that doesn't unlock a new kind of creative focus because you have to you have to engage a different part of your brain in order to do that. Right. Because it's not going to be as natural and comfortable as be like second nature to you. So try to set some sort of artificial boundary. Another thing you can do is impose an artificial deadline. You know, say I'm going to try to accomplish X by Thursday, right and set a boundary that maybe it's an artificial boundary. Nobody's telling you it has to be done by Thursday, but set an artificial boundary for yourself. So that it brings a a measure of intensity to the work right and urgency to the work, and it's a self imposed deadline, but it's something that can help you channel your focus more effectively. So that's the second practice is to set some boundaries. It could be some sort of artificial boundary that you said, it could be some sort of arbitrary deadline that you said, but some sort of creed of boundary that you set on yourself can be really helpful in channeling your focus. The third is to break. The problem down shallan you to deconstruct the problem into play with it a bit. What I mean by that is sometimes what we're trying to do is simply to conceptual and too complex for our minds to really gain traction. And so if we're dealing with a really complex problem that we're trying to solve creatively or solve for creatively. Sometimes it helps to step back into break it up into smaller problems or just to deconstruct the problem and play with it a little bit. And to see if there are different ways of putting the problem together or to see if there's a problem set instead of a problem and instead break it apart and then attack one problem in the timer. One part of the problem at a time instead of the problem as a whole, right? So. So for example, let's say that you're building a website for client. Well, it's easy. Just to say we're going to build XYZ website. Well, there are a million problems have to be solved in the midst of that, right? So build XYZ website is not a terribly helpful way to define the problem. Instead, you have to break it down into trying to reach with his website. What kind of platform we're going to use? What is the visual? What's the user interface going to be like, what are the visual elements? We're going to use. We're designing the website. You know, is there something new that hasn't been done before their way that we can maybe sort of break the wall, and sort of bring people into the experience some in some way, there are a million questions and problems that you can ask challenges you can break this down into. But if you just run with the we're building a website problem, then it's too conceptual. It doesn't really allow you to gain traction. So break it down deconstruct it and play with the problem. See if there's a new way of defining what you're trying to do. And another way to do. This is to force a metaphor onto the problem case to ask what is this like your whatever wherever I seen something like this before. And it could be a metaphor that you try to force onto the problem. So let's say you want to compare it to something you want to try to turn it into something. Even more, hyper conceptual than the problem in its current state often by doing that, it will open up new avenues of thinking about the problem when you when you try to force a metaphor onto it. It'll begin you thinking. Down a different path. And would otherwise go down if you were just trying to think about the problem itself because there's another way to break it down deconstruct play with it, really? This is all about play. It's about trying to make things more manageable by breaking them into their constituent parts, and then sort of playing around with them and combining them in new ways and seeing what happens. So those are really the three strategies encourage you to experiment with this week. If you're struggling with focus, even if you're not number one redefined the problems that you're solving make sure that you're defining the problems based on today's knowledge, not yesterday's knowledge. What are you really trying to do today? Not what did you think you were trying to do when you started the project number to set some boundaries? Right. Watch that Peter Gabriel documentaries actually, really good, right? Remember Orson Welles said that the absence of limitation is the enemy of art set some artificial boundaries for yourself helped channel your focus more effectively. And then finally break it down break the problem apart play with it deconstructed fours, a metaphor onto it. See if that opens up new ways of thinking and channeling. Your focus on the work that you're doing. All right. They I would love to hear thoughts. Your feedback. Your comments about this interacted accidental creative dot com. My Email address you can reach me there or an accidental creative dot com. Join the conversation at collective accidental creative dot com. That's what we talk about all of these episodes. Remember friends cover band, still change the world. They'll be a cover band, and you can find your voice if you wanna throw we'll see you next time. In the in the documents nugget.