February 28, 2012

Distraction gives you time to breathe

When you’re stuck in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging.

Harvard University researcher and psychologist Shelley H. Carson, author of “Your Creative Brain,” says distraction isn’t always a bad thing.

If you are stuck on a problem, an interruption can force an “incubation period,” she says. “In other words, a distraction may provide the break you need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution.”

Carson’s studies show that not only are creative people more susceptible to “novelty,” and thus distraction, but that mind wandering itself is associated with highly creative people.

Jan Brogan in the Boston Globe.

February 19, 2012

The Art of Distraction

A flighty mind might be going somewhere.

It is incontrovertible that sometimes things get done better when you’re doing something else.

Some interruptions are worth having if they create a space for something to work in the fertile unconscious. Indeed, some distractions are more than useful; they might be more like realizations and can be as informative and multilayered as dreams.

There might be more to our distractions than we realized we knew. We might need to be irresponsible. But to follow a distraction requires independence and disobedience; there will be anxiety in not completing something, in looking away, or in not looking where others prefer you to.

In the end, a person requires a method. He must be able to distinguish between creative and destructive distractions by the sort of taste they leave, whether they feel depleting or fulfilling.

Hanif Kureishi in the New York Times.