One of the books I am enjoying immensely at the moment is legendary dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp‘s The Creative Habit. This book has itself become legendary among creative types, and I can’t believe I have left it till now to start reading it.
It is filled with practical information and advice, and Tharp is quite severe with her advice sometimes. But I think that, with her lifetime of amazing productivity and achievement, she has probably earned her right to be a little didactic.
One of the things she recommends, and which struck me immediately as something I could apply to my own life, is listing the biggest distractions that take you away from your work and then disciplining yourself to spend a week without one of them, and then alternating them week after week.
How would this look for me?
1 week with no Twitter – by far my biggest distraction.
1 week with no other forms of social media – principally Facebook, Tumblr and Google+. All lesser distractions, but it adds up nonetheless.
1 week with no TV – of course, no-one watches TV anymore, but everyone watches entire series, one or two episodes a night. This can steal some substantial time.
1 week with no pleasure reading – absolutely nothing that is not related directly to my work. This especially includes spiritual and self-help books, which I turn to when I am feeling stressed and overburdened.
1 week with no blogs, newspaper or other media sites perused on-line – again, a lesser distraction, but one which still can steal a few hours from my creative/work time.
So what would your list like? Would you like to share in the comments those things you’d like to take a break from occasionally, and perhaps create a rotating roster of voluntary abstinence from your biggest distractions, like I have?