Declutter your mind for more creative thoughts

21 January 2015 / Leave a Comment

I recently read an article in The New Yorker about Vine, the new short form video site where users share 6 second videos on loop. It’s apparently massive. I logged on because it sounded so absurd that we could be entertained in 6 seconds. I watched a few featured videos and couldn’t quite see what the appeal is. Something about Vine disturbed me, if I’m to be honest ... has our attention span decreased to 6 seconds? And the looping … do we have to watch things over and over again to get it? Something about it felt a bit eerie to me … and it made me question, yet again, what is technology really doing to our minds?


Late last year I took Twitter and Facebook off my smartphone. I was wanting to invite peace back into my mind - to stand in a queue at the supermarket and just wait patiently, to sit in a café and drink a coffee and think, to stir a pot of gravy mindfully.


There was an article recently about Neil Gaiman taking a hiatus from Twitter because he missed boredom and about how much boredom is an important ingredient for creativity. So true, our best ideas come when we’re washing the dishes or on a long, boring, road trip. If we’re stuffing our brains with tidbits are we missing out on those lightbulb moments?


Here are 10 simple tips for decluttering your mind:


  • Create lists on Twitter so that if you are spending time on it, you’re looking at content that's valuable and serves a purpose. My favourites at the moment are Aerogramme Writers Studio, Brainpickings and Literary Rejections, as well as other writers and peers that I respect.
  • Decide what apps you really need on your phone. If you're starting to act like Pavlov's Dogs and have been conditioned to salivate and hunger after likes and retweets and you're sniffing around particular apps far too often, it's time for them to go ...
  • Use Buffer (www.bufferapp.com) to schedule your tweets, it's far superior to Hootsuite. Their ‘re-buffer this post’ option is total genius. Schedule your tweets and forget about them for a week or two.
  • Unsubscribe from all those enewsletters that make you feel overwhelmed when you open your inbox. What do you really read? Those other ones are just cluttering your mind.
  • Value idle time. Go for a walk, a run, a bike ride, a long drive. Don’t listen to a podcast or music. Sit on a train wearing sunglasses and stare at fellow passengers.
  • Cook a new recipe, there’s peace to be found in focusing on a new task.
  • Read a novel, it sounds obvious for writers, but you'd be surprised!
  • If you write first thing in the morning, like I do, minimise the amount of time you spend checking emails or social media sites before writing. It's the golden time to be creative. Write before you cloud your mind with other things.
  • Enjoy a new experience without having to photograph and share it. No one will appreciate it as much as you will … that is … if you are truly present in the moment.
  • Work out what’s meaningful in your life. If it’s not meaningful then it’s just a distraction.

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