4 Ways to Stay Focused on Design

Posted By Andy Blanchard on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 10:26

Getting into the groove. Finding the sweet spot. Feeling the flow. Whatever you call it, sometime it’s hard to find, and even harder to keep, with so many daily interruptions.

In college I used to do my best work between 9:00pm and 2:00am. Not sure if that was due to the lack of people in the art studio and computer labs, or because I was most likely drunk at that time. Either way, that was my creative sweet spot back then. Now, I struggle to truly find that creative time where I can dive in, feel the flow, and run with it. Most times I am being pulled in multiple directions at work and home. I am partially to blame (being ADHD), easily distracted and trying to fit multiple activities, such as running, biking, fishing, painting, etc. into my life. I even had to write this blog in a two part series. Yet over the last couple years I have learned a few tricks to overcome most of these challenges.

Don't take on too many things

The worst thing you can do is say, "Yes" to everyone and everything. Good design, actually good anything, takes time and dedication. If your time is fragmented throughout the day and you are jumping from one thing to another, it may be hard to settle down and give the task at hand the proper focus. Saying “No” is ok as long as it is for the greater good.

Use a calendar and I mean really use it

When I use a calendar it takes the worry out of my day. As long as I am adding tasks and events to my calendar the moment I find when, where and why, I am less stressed and distracted trying to remember. There is no need to worry about forgetting to do something or missing a meeting. Let technology keep you on track and focused.

Drown out distractions with headphones

One thing I find myself doing all the time is wearing headphones and not listening to music. At first it was a mistake, forgetting to turn on the music, but now I do it to tune out distracting noises. I can still hear if someone needs to get my attention, but find that small sounds are gone. On occasion, I still listen to music, but there needs to be very little to no vocals. Otherwise I find myself listening to the lyrics and not focusing on what I am doing.

Try and stack similar tasks one after another

First thing in the morning when I get to work, I check and answer my emails. I make important phone calls and try to get any non-design work done. Once I have cleared my plate of these items, I try and stack design work one after another. This helps with my creativity by pulling ideas and creative thoughts from one job to another.

None of these are amazing or mind blowing new concepts but for me they do the trick. Let me know if there is anything out there that helps with the Creative Flow!