The first time I noticed was on a transatlantic flight, heading to the US on a business trip. It was out of necessity more than anything else. I’d had a hectic few weeks and I felt incredibly unprepared for the workshop that I was going to give over the next few days.
At first I thought I’d just review my notes, revise the training sequence I had put together.
I did that pretty quickly and realized that I was more prepared than I had thought.
Then I opened up a new page and began to think about the idea that had been floating around my head and my awareness for several months.
Most of the people around me were stuck into movies or sleeping. The air stewards had disappeared, meal served and the lights dimmed, it was their time to rest too.
It was like an open channel, a clarity and succinctness that surprised me. I could articulate my thoughts so clearly, that I became completely absorbed.
Several hours went by and before I knew it I had completed the business model that ultimately would be the fuel for more research, workshops, webinars and articles than I could envision at that time.
And I still had time to watch a movie before we landed. I was thrilled.
The next time was on the train. It wasn’t even a long journey, just about 35 minutes but almost the exact same thing happened.
I opened my laptop in order to review a piece of work. Realizing that it was all good, I opened up a new page and began to write.
The next thing I knew, I had completed writing an article that would usually take me double the time. And it wasn’t a once off – each time I got on that train, the same thing would happen.
I started to think about what was going on and why my productivity had sky-rocketed in both situations. What emerged was a clear picture of what I believe is the ultimate creativity hack. Now I’m not suggesting that you need to get on trains and planes in order to get your work done. But it has helped me figure out what you can do to explode your creativity.
Here’s the secret recipe:
- Set a clear goal – you are trying to get one thing done, that’s it. Define it before you start.
- Create a concise time definition – if a train journey is 35 minutes – that’s the time you’ve got. You don’t need the train, just give yourself a clear time limit.
- Don’t allow for any interruptions – turn off your phone, shut down social media, lock the door if necessary – just know that you are going to complete in the time assigned.
- Go straight to the page – or the project – whatever needs to get completed. Don’t do any more research, don’t check or compare or try to fix something that already exists. Just go for the goal and only the goal.
- Keep going as if your life depended upon it. Don’t give up, don’t reread, don’t edit, just write, create, compose like crazy until it’s done – you’ll have time to revisit later, for now you are just going to complete.
- Get really excited because you know that in x amount of time, it’ll be done. And that’s very cool. So take that excitement energy and allow it to emerge through your creative activity.
- Congratulate yourself – this is the fastest you’ve probably ever done something and under these conditions I’m willing to bet that it’s top quality! Well done.
You see, we underestimate the damage caused by distraction. When you can fully focus on one task for a specific amount of time and know that you will simply get it done with no judgment and no exhausting self-examination, what you create is always great.
The power of focus so that you can simply finish a task is immense..and the satisfaction you will get from working this way, equally so.
So try it out and share how it goes.
I’m running now, my train is about to pull into the station! Have a spectacular and super-creative and productive day.
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