Let me show you my best painting secret!
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Busyness - the state of being or appearing to be actively engaged in an activity.
I have been busy lately, but there is that uneasy feeling of not being able to show much for it. To be honest I need to take some of my own medicine and get back to work on time every day. The hard truth is that it is very easy to spend too much time keeping up with the distractions that crop up.
Heaven help if these distractions become habits. It is time to focus!
Identify the culprits.These timebandits include:
This list can easily wipe out two hours of your day.
Last night I sat through two hours of the John Carter dvd! I will never get that time back and it annoys me no end.
Research in front of the computer often turns into surfing for stuff we do not need. Oh, hang on – the red light on my crackberry is blinking – just a second – new e-mails – I will check them quickly …. what, Lunch already!
The beauty of art is that it is analogue. We need to remember this. Creating can be kept simple if we keep our focus. Get to the easel and draw or paint. Creativity is a state of focus. A zen state that is within our grasp. The sad thing is that distractions become habits, which rob us of this state of focus. The good news is that positive habits can be adopted. It is a decision.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
- Lao Tzu
This wonderful quote is a wake up moment for me. I am a landscape artist first and foremost so I must appreciate the timeless rhythms of nature. The grace and beauty of nature doing what it has done since the creation. I can choose to respect nature by turning away from distractions.
I realise that this need to focus goes hand in hand with simplification. Simplify is a mantra that needs repeating when painting, but also needs to be part of the artist’s lifestyle. We must decide that we want a simpler life. It requires effort at first then becomes a habit. Give it a month. We each know our vices – our timebandits. Saying “Do the work” is not enough. We need a conscious decision to make a simpler approach to life possible. Small steps – for example: e-mail program is not opened until midday or perhaps switched off at 9am until 4pm. You decide, but be bold.
I was inspired to dig deeper by Leo Babauta’s book Focus. He writes about finding simplicity in the age of distraction. Leo has generously made his book available for free download and you can download a copy here in pdf form.
Please visit the author’s site zenhabits.net for more insight into the simpler life.
I am interested to hear about your experience with coping with distraction. It always helps to know how other creative people are overcoming busyness to focus on creating.