Too Many Minds

Twitter, Facebook, Dribbble, Blogs and so on…

Call them what you will; distractions, wastes of time, etc. Sure, they have some promotional and marketing benefits but they are hardly what we—creative professionals—should be spending our time on.

I keep twitter on (tweetdeck or tweetie) throughout the day. Utilizing spaces, I put it on a space that is not my main one. I have to actively take time away from paying work to go see it. Making a more physical decision to change spaces triggers the greed sensors in my brain. It alerts me that if I take time away from paying work and paying clients to do something that is not making money, then not only am I doing myself, my clients and my business a disservice, but also my family. My fiancé works very hard and has a regular salary. Every moment I spend not actively earning money is taking advantage and exploiting her support for me taking on the self-employment challenge.

Additionally, I find that my need for distraction has significantly decreased since striking out on my own. I utilize twitter to find new ideas, design inspiration to help overcome a tough spot, and to further my knowledge. I don’t, however, spend time reading the articles or spend time (other than design inspiration) trying these out. I bookmark them using Evernote and go back to them later, after working hours.

In zen as well as the practice of martial arts, there is the idea of mushin. Mushin means without mind or no-mind. It is similar to what artists experience when they are in the “zone.” A state of mind where one is working steadily without emotional distractions and so intently focused on the task at hand that they no long have to “think” about it, but rather just do it.

When it comes down to the actual process of design (or most creative endeavors) there is no cure for a block other than work. Facebook will not help you find the right typeface for the logo. Twitter will not make you any money. The only way to do something is to do it. The only way to design a logo is to actually put the work in to create something. The only way to write a novel is to sit down and write it. And this is why not everyone can create. Not everyone can have the discipline required to work on something.

So, why then do we distract ourselves and essentially procrastinate? We procrastinate out of fear. Or in some cases paralysis that is a result of fear. Fear of not doing something right, fear of asking a question, fear of something. There could be a known or unknown factor that is causing a delay. The only solution to this fear is honesty. And not the type of honesty we teach children about. Being honest and truthful with oneself. It may hurt and may be tough. It may make you feel stupid. Figuring out what it is that you are really afraid of with this project. Once you can identify it, and put a name to it, you can solve it. Solving it will help you move forward.

Too many minds refers to all of our distractions that we utilize day-to-day to placate our fears and aid our procrastination. Eliminate these fears through truthfulness. Get back to work.

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