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Alissa: One Question that Can Keep Technology from Destroying Your Creativity

I’m sure you’ve sat down at the computer before, one simple, five-minute task in mind, only to come out of a groggy internet fog an hour later with your kids clamoring for attention. Your task may not even be finished and, even worse, the precious few moments of down time you had are now gone. You want more time for creativity, and you need to use the internet simply to get life done, but it’s such a distraction! As technology permeates ever more corners of our lives are we allowing it to be a creative drain?

Recently I was starting to feel lousy and unable to focus. I knew needed some limits around technology, but “don’t use the computer or phone” wouldn’t work. Eventually, I realized, it’s pretty simple. I just need one question to keep technology from destroying my creativity:

What is my intention?

Every time I go to look at a screen I stop myself to ask this.

And I cringe to admit, I have found myself answering things like: “I’m bored.” Or “…Uhhh, I don’t know…”  Oh my gosh! I crave time to myself and I am fiddling it away when I have it!

By asking myself what my intention is, I better utilize my time online. I know I have a tendency to get distracted, so sometimes I’ll write down my intention to help keep me focused. When my intention is something like “socializing” or,“finding kids’ activities,” I try to remember to look at the clock before I begin and give myself the amount of time I can afford to give.

Technology can foster incredible creative work, inspiring connections, and support networks that you simply cannot find locally. It can also be a time suck and creative drain, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep asking, “What is my intention?” and you’ll find more time to allow your creativity to shine.

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Alissa Marquess is a homeschooling mom to three kids. She blogs about creating with, for, and in the midst of children at Creative With Kids. Her intention before getting on the computer this evening was to finish writing this article…done!

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for this great reminder of focus and limitations! I’m getting away from my computer now!

    October 26, 2011
  2. So very true. This past Sunday, our cable and internet were both down for about six hours. It actually was quite liberating!

    October 26, 2011
  3. set an egg timer! says she who has yet to purchase said egg timer…but i keep thinking that would help – an intention with an egg timer that is.

    October 26, 2011
  4. Great article. I need to do this because I often get lost in all the info on the internet and forget what I actually set out to accomplish!

    October 26, 2011
  5. I definitely noticed that since becoming a mom, my ability to focus when I actually have time and space to myself is somehow further from reach. It’s like my brain relaxes, finally not having to focus on ten things at once, and then finds ten things to fill the extra space. Frustrating. I’m a writer, and a desk-worker, but am soon to be certified as a massage therapist. I enrolled in school on something of a hunch and a whim, but it turns out I love the work; when I’m doing massage, I don’t have the option of distractions. I don’t get any emails or calls, and I can’t surf the web. I tend to those things later. Having that focused time– and having that be associated with actually working– seems to help me stay calm and focused for the rest of the day, too, so that I AM present with my kiddo, and then productive later, when I’m writing, or looking around, with an intention (great idea to remind oneself of what this is!), online.

    October 28, 2011

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