Updated: Dec 2, 2019
In the time you’ve set aside to work through this section, you’re likely to check your phone. You’ll probably see notifications for emails or text messages pop up on your lock screen. You won’t resist. Once you’ve started thumbing through your apps, you’ll check Instagram, too. While on Insta, you may click through to an article about the benefits of yoga or find yourself suddenly on Amazon following an influencer's book recommendation. We'll both be lucky if you make it back here!
There are tons of gurus out there who would have you believe that your behavior is a serious problem, that the expanse and variety of everything around us (including the internet) is hijacking your ability to concentrate and think. That distraction is a sin.
I have a different theory. You see, it has been scientifically proven that innovation and creativity are often found in the sweet spot between focus AND distraction. And when you're facing most tough decisions, the best solutions are often creative and innovative. However, we're often so hyper-focused on finding a solution that we never make it to the creative and innovative solutions that we need most. That whole "can't see the forest for the trees" saying.
What's the best way to balance attention and distraction? This is my favorite answer:
When we're so busy adulting it can be easy to forget about play. But newsflash: research has shown that taking time to play boosts creativity, productivity, and mood. Plus, play is great for your physical and mental health. And most importantly, play gives your brain the break it needs from over-focusing on an issue so you can finally see some better options. When you're engaged in play, your brain has the chance to fire off neurons and connect synapses in fun and random ways, leading to the ingenious answers you need.
A competitive game of soccer, a video game with friends, messy outdoor art, roughhousing with your dog, playing an instrument, walking around a new park, exploring and researching an interesting topic- whatever distraction you prefer, play is exactly what the doctor ordered!