How to stop multitasking: Quick Tip 6

Try this: Stop Multitasking.

Focus on one task at a time. One aspect of one task.

Multitasking even hurts well-practiced habits. A 1990’s experiment on productivity demonstrated that switching between two tasks slowed participants. The experiment was shared by the American Psychological Association. If a participated repeated the same task again and again, they were better at it. Bilingual individuals matched colors and numbers in their native language versus a second language. Working in their native language became more difficult.

Switching goals and changing trains of thoughts is hard! Notice when you get distracted and choose to refocus on one thing until your goal is met. We naturally switch tasks throughout the day. Switching from one thing to another less often makes it easier. When you note you’re tempted to start and stop often, gently push yourself back.

I always have many projects on all of my lists at every moment. Especially when collaborating, I try to stick with what I’m doing. So if I’m at an improv comedy practice, I’m not talking much about my art and music. When I’m at the piano, I try not to let my mind wander to work or another improv show. I’m at my best when I can just obsess for hours about one thing.

Have you faced a problem with focusing?

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

Imagine You’re 7 Years Old: Quick Tip 5

Try this: Imagine you’re a 7 year old.

Children playing is filled with curiosity. They haven’t learned the stock responses of adults. Ask yourself what a kid would do in this situation.

In one psychological experiment, college volunteers were asked what they’d do if school was cancelled for the day. A second group was given the added idea to “imagine themselves as a 7-year-old”. The group asked to think like a kid had more original ideas. Those who were tested as introverted, more inhibited, and less spontaneous were especially more creatively original. Details of this research were published in the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.

To be honest, I often forget I’m an adult. It’s kind of weird that we get older and we’re the same person. Adults are really just old children. We’re not as limited as we think we are.

Has thinking like a kid helped you?

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

Stop Doing Something: Quick Tip 4

Try this: Stop doing something

How do we make time for art? In his book Getting Things Done, David Allen recommends we ask ourselves if we really have to be doing a task.

Consider delegating a task. Maybe you hire a maid every month to cut back on cleaning.

Put tasks on your someday/maybe list. One day you’ll learn to paint abstracts, for now you’re doing portraits.

Forget and lose tasks. You don’t like drawing with charcoal? You don’t have to do it.

I used to dabble in programming. I liked it and at the same time, I’d rather paint and sketch than look at code. Someday, maybe I’ll get back into it.

How has quitting made you a better artist?

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

Walk to Boost Your Creative Thinking: Quick Tip 3

Walking boosts creativity in real time and shortly after. Following being seated, participants scored higher on creativity tests. Walking outside had the most impact. At the same time, a treadmill still increased creativity. The paper titled “Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking” was published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

I live in Baltimore City, so I walk to the gym and to stores when I have time. It’s one of my favorite things about living in the city. Now that I commute to the suburbs for work, I really miss working in the city where I could walk and browse stores on my lunch breaks

Do you take regular walks and does that help you?

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

Pay more attention to color in your life: Quick Tip 2

Try this. Notice the colors around you.

Challenge yourself to notice the colors you interact with in your daily life. Color is linked with psychological and cultural effects. Red colored pills work better as depressants depending on the culture. Maybe patients expect red pills to be better and that changes the placebo effect. Colors influences our moods. My voice mail message asks people to leave their name, number and favorite color. I often forget this until I hear an unexpected “My favorite color is orange!” At the end of an professional message

Have you tried paying more attention to color? Did notice anything interesting?

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.