Concentration is a lost art.

It's no secret that Maria Popova provides enough inspiration to feed an internet's-worth of creative types. This one struck me for two reasons:

  • It's about Alexander Graham Bell and he's been on my mind this week as I work on a project about the Me Decade (during which the first cell phone call was made — to a descendent of Bell's)
  • It celebrates and endorses concentration

Working in digital media, the tendency to create, post, and respond at the speed of light is prevalent. I do it. Everyone does. Being responsive communicates that you are attentive to others' needs, and proves that you're on top of things (both desirable qualities in the modern workplace).

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But making things — good things that make sense, which, as a writer, is my job — requires attention to your own brain, that delightful, roomy rabbit hole. We all need the headspace to sort through thoughts, connect ideas, formulate a plan of attack, then put fingers to keyboard and let 'er rip. This is impossible when you are reading tweets, answering IMs, monitoring emails, etc. Well, it's possible, but what is the quality of work you are creating?

Yes, I'm talking headphones here. I'm talking ignoring emails for an hour (gasp!). I'm talking working somewhere other than your desk so no one can find you. Jonathan Franzen modded his laptop so he could write Freedom. You, dear designer, writer, strategist, visionary, can log out of AIM for a bit so you can work.

So read all about Mr. Bell's thoughts on creativity, innovation, and success. What you read may inspire you to make something (kind of like it inspired me to made this). Then slow down, and make it.