Narrowing focus.

I’ve been reading a lot over the weekend about how creative people can best harness their abilities so they can also become more successful (since sadly, often you only get one without the other.) I’m still reading. It’s a lot to absorb and some of it is valuable and some of it isn’t, and some of it might be, but it’s so not who I am or ever want to be as a person that I don’t care how good the advice might be- I just know I’ll never do it.

One of the more valuable things that I’ve been reading about is how to concentrate on only a few things at at a time, rather than continually generating endless ideas that take energy to come up with, but never really go anywhere after that.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t multitask,  but it’s a warning not to spread yourself *too* thin (which I do with pretty alarming regularity.)

All of this reading started because Nick Booth (the other guy from Birmginham) over at Podnosh linked up to Wishful Linking (which I highly recommend and for which I  thank Nick), which is a tumblr blog with nothing in it but links for creative people (which discipline is irrelevant, in this case.) I found myself reading all weekend, and I’m still not even close to being done.

In the interests of following that advice, which I think is pretty valid, I’m going to try to limit myself to ten things at once (which, when it’s opposed to INFINITE things, as it usually is,  becomes quite the reduction.)

Though I keep a list of things I’m designing over on the left there(all still in progress), that’s not all I’m working on.  I am also starting to investigate the prototyping of one of my furniture pieces in order to have it ready for next years’ rounds of international furniture fairs(yes, I’m serious.).  I’m always knitting *something* (at the moment it’s another hat for a kid undergoing chemotherapy treatment.),  there’s also always some kind of photography project going on(I have a stack of editing that needs looking at), and of course there’s an ongoing “search for a firm where I fit in” thing, too(still ongoing.).  I think that’s probably enough right now.  I feel almost badly for saying so, because it seems like I shouldn’t be turning away concepts and ideas but I think the spread too thin thing is valid and this will help my overall production rate long term.

I’ve been asked to present my thesis(though this link is technically SFW, if you work at someplace really conservative, I’d think before clicking.) again.  This time though, it’s to thesis students at Pratt to aid them in putting their own projects together.  Though I don’t have my presentation boards anymore (screw that- I never wanted to use boards on this project in the first damned place, and they were a token gesture at best. The moment my thesis was in the can I was on a plane headed for London, and I didn’t care in the least what they did with the boards- still don’t.) , this gives me a chance to present the project as it *should* be presented.  I have to find out how much time I’m going to be given, and if I’m going to be able to have the time to give a talk about how to approach these kinds of projects or if I’m going to only have enough time to present my personal project.  I think I also may redo the .ppt just to make it smaller (in terms of file size) and see if I need to create some kind of handouts in addition to my presentation booklet, depending on what kind of talk I’m ultimately going to be asked to give.

I think that’s plenty for a Monday morning.  Now it’s back to work for me.

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7 Comments

  1. So when is the presentation? Did you want a garment that fits? If we have time, I’d like to give it another go.

  2. Sometime in April, and I’m hoping I don’t have to dress for it again. I was supposed to meet with Jack yesterday, but things got screwed up and it never happened.

    I’ll have a word with Jack and let you know what he says. 🙂

  3. Hello – thank you for the mention.

    Have you come across a book called Getting Things Done – it helps you structure the way you work to leave you more time to think and more space in your head for being creative. Essentially it encourages you do avoid the lose ends of life which stuff your head full of wasteful thinking.

    I know that might make me sound like a loony – but it is a helpful approach for many, including Andrew Dubber and Antonio Gould

  4. I haven’t, but I’ve been filling my brain with a LOT of the stuff from Wishful Linking. I’m really liking the stuff I’ve been reading over at Behance Magazine in particular.

    And if you think *that* makes you sound like a loony you need to hang around here more. I think more insane things than that every 20 seconds or so. 🙂

  5. Good luck on learning to live in the moment. I’ve been trying to do that for a long time. You know when you’re at the end of yoga and you’re supposed to veg and “empty your mind”? That’s when I start writing a mental grocery list, or start thinking, “Oh my God, I’ve got to empty my mind, but I can’t empty my mind…” at nauseum.

    One thing that might help is reading Alain de Botton. He’s a good writer and writes about thoughtful things like architecture.

  6. I am fundamentally incapable of living in the moment. It’s just not in me, *at all*. It’s why I have never been able to successfully get into yoga. My mind never quiets to anything below a dull roar. I’m just trying to stop continually overextending myself and feeling like I can *never* do enough. It’s only not enough because I’ve deemed it to be not enough. So I have to change the line where enough is.

    You know?

  7. Thanks for the write-up, glad you find Wishful Linking helpful. If you’re struggling with multitasking and trying to maintain creative focus, you might find my free e-book helpful – Time Management for Creative People: http://www.wishfulthinking.co.uk/blog/2007/12/03/time-management-for-creative-people-free-e-book/

    All the best.


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