“Others inspire us, information feeds us, practice improves our performance, but we need quiet time to figure things out, to emerge with new discoveries, to unearth original answers.”
—Ester Buchholz, Psychoanalyst and Clinical Psychologist
Focus and clarity are the foods of successful execution and creativity. Unfortunately, the fast paced, chaotic, informative environment that executives and entrepreneurs work in means that true focus for a meaningful length of time rarely occurs.
Coming up with solutions to new and unexpected problems are creative processes. Creativity needs peace and quiet to flourish.
The Same Impact as Two Joints of Marijuana
Research confirms that a steady stream of incoming information is one of the best ways to destroy creative thought and clarity. A study commissioned by Hewlett-Packard found that frequent use of e-mails and text messages has a detrimental effect on the brain and noticeable drop in IQ, equivalent to smoking two joints of marijuana.
Uninterrupted thought is a precondition that necessitates time away from the laptop, smartphone, office, or other distractions. Unfortunately, along with not taking the time necessary to prepare a spellbinding pitch, people rarely allow themselves the necessary space, peace, and quiet.
Our increasing obsession with being always available and connected comes at the high price of creativity and clarity. This obsession also impacts the attention given by the audience who entrepreneurs are pitching or selling to. It is increasingly rare to find an important business meeting where one or more participants are not distracted by their smartphones.
The Enemy of Execution and Strategy
Reading and responding to tweets, friend requests and e-mails, places us in a reactive state which is not conducive to a proactive execution mindset. It is also impossible to achieve the clarity of mind necessary to effectively strategize and plan.
The solution is simple. When you need to focus, find a place where you cannot be disturbed or distracted. Don’t forget to turn all phones off, close down your e-mail, and switch off your laptop / tablet. The idea is to be somewhere peaceful and away from your office or work space so that the residue or reminder of noise and distraction does not crash on your problem solving abilities and creativity. Then begin.
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