Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Making Deadlines: Work the Body to Focus the Mind

What do I do when deadlines claw their way into my peripheral vision?


Okay, okay, it's true. I don't run. 


I walk. I attempt practice yoga. I do whatever physical activity encourages my body and my brain to be on the same page. I do that activity for an hour at the minimum but never more than 90 minutes. I'm after mental clarity not training for an Iron Man.

To Focus the Mind, Calm the Restlessness of the Body

Yes, yes, an hour dedicated to physical exertion sounds counterproductive. "Wait, I have to get the final edits in by the end of the week, I don't have time to pee much less exercise."  That might be true if the deliverable didn't depend on your creativity. However, we all know the point at which your muse walks away is the precise moment you're groveling on the floor, weeping, promising your first-born, and throwing in a box of kittens.

Exercise helps your brain focus

The thing is, you can lock yourself in the linen closet and you can be alone ... with your wandering mind. This is not the mind that is focused on the creative task at hand. No, no. This is the mind that wonders if red wine really is a good substitute for hair dye. Is twinge in your side too much broccoli or is your appendix afixin' to explode? And gee, look at those mangled nails. If you chipped the rest of the polish off they wouldn't look quite so horrible.

Arrrrgh! If only your brain would FOCUS.

The hour you wasted banging your head on the keyboard could have been used doing something less traumatic to your head and more conducive to your creativity.  The next time you have to knuckle-down and deal with a rapidly approaching deadline, clear away all the physical distractions -- those outside your body and those of your body.

What sort of exercises or physical activity do you, dear reader, do to focus your mind?


  1. I don't suppose crocheting counts...

  2. driving is when my mind seems to focus and get creative well, driving without any kids in the car... walking (again without kids) helps me focus.

    1. it's amazing what sort clarity can be achieved when the kids are ... elsewhere