Post Abstract

A moment of distraction can help you be more creative.

How Flies Swim and Other Beneficial Distractions for Improved Creativity and Workflow

  • By D. Christensen
  • 2024-02-29

Have you ever stared at a blank page, willing your writing into existence? Or felt your focus fizzle, replaced by the siren song of your phone notifications? 

We've all been there, victims of the double-edged sword of distraction.

But what if I told you that controlled distraction, like a little sprinkle of creative chaos, can be the secret weapon in your productivity arsenal?

Yes, you read that right.

While excessive distractions are undeniably the enemy of focus, embracing intentional, well-timed breaks can boost your creativity and workflow. 

Spark New Ideas: The Unexpected Fuel of Inspiration

Have you hit a creative wall?

Sometimes, the best way to break through is to step back and let your mind wander. 


This seemingly unproductive act can be a powerful tool. When you allow your thoughts to roam freely, you open yourself up to unexpected connections and inspiration. It's like planting a seed of an idea, letting your subconscious mind nurture it while you consciously engage in something else. This "incubation period" can lead to fresh perspectives and innovative solutions that might have eluded you while hyper-focused.

Imagine you're writing a song. You've got the melody down, but the lyrics are stubbornly elusive. Instead of banging your head against the wall, take a walk in the park. Listen to the birdsong, watch a child play, or let your mind drift. Upon your return, you might be surprised how a seemingly unrelated experience sparks the perfect lyric or even a whole new melody.

Focus Refreshed: The Power of the Short Break

Just like our muscles, our brains need rest periods to perform at their peak. 

Short, deliberate distractions, similar to the breaks incorporated in the Pomodoro Technique, can work wonders for your focus. Taking a few minutes to stretch, doodle, or listen to music can act as a mental palate cleanser, preventing burnout and allowing you to return to your task with renewed energy and concentration,


Think of your brain like a battery. When it's fully charged, you can work with laser focus. But as the day wears on, your battery depletes. Taking short breaks, like plugging your phone into a charger, allows you to "recharge" your mental battery, leading to increased productivity and improved overall workflow.

Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: Stepping Away for Solutions

Ever feel like you're staring so hard at a problem that you can't see the solution? 

Sometimes, the key to unlocking a puzzle lies in stepping away and approaching it from a fresh perspective. Engaging in a completely different activity can help you detach from the problem, allowing you to see it with new eyes when you return.

Imagine you're trying to solve a complex problem. You've been working on it for hours, feeling increasingly frustrated.

Take a break!

Go for a walk, solve a crossword puzzle, or do some gardening. When you return to the equation, you might find the solution staring you right in the face, clear as day. This "defocusing" technique can help you identify patterns and connections you might have missed while hyper-focused.

But Wait, There's a Catch!

Not all distractions are created equal. 

While a quick walk can be a productivity booster, scrolling endlessly through social media can turn into a time-consuming black hole. 


The key is to be intentional with your distractions. Choose stimulating and refreshing activities that don't require significant cognitive effort. Try listening to music, reading a short story, or doing light stretches.

Finding the sweet spot between focus and distraction is crucial. Too much distraction can derail your workflow, while too little can lead to stagnation. Experiment and discover what works best to create a workflow that fosters creativity and efficient productivity.

Bonus Fly Fact: Did you know flies don't swim in the traditional sense? They stay afloat thanks to a coating of tiny hairs that trap air, creating a miniature life vest that allows them to skate across the water's surface.

That's an inspirational example of making the most of what you have!

The next time you feel the urge to procrastinate, don't despair. Embrace the power of the "beneficial distraction" and see where it takes you.

You might be surprised at the creative spark and renewed focus it ignites as you go after your personal potential!