The Blank Computer Screen

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I’m sure you’ve experienced this: trying to get work done or create something new on your computer and the only thing staring back at you is a blank screen?  I’d love to know what you do to combat this problem, as I’m always open for new ideas; however I will share what worked for me earlier this week.

I was in the process of creating a new workshop for my clients and about 30 minutes into my content design, my mind decided to stop working. The thoughts and ideas that were flowing so nicely simply stopped.  I sat there and stared at the computer screen for a while wondering if somehow the words and ideas would magically appear.  They didn’t.  I removed my hands from the keyboard (since they were no longer doing anything but resting there) and sat back in my chair, still staring at the computer screen and now talking to myself too, Come on Andria. THINK.  Still nothing.  I knew from many prior experiences and also from writing two books that the worst thing for me to do was continue to sit there and plead the computer screen and myself to come up with the next set of ideas.  I knew I had to walk away and do something else. Only I didn’t want to.  I had a lot to get done that day and had specifically set aside that time to work on this workshop.  I resisted for a little bit, still sitting there, but finally gave in.  I decided to give myself a 20-minute break.

I decided the 20-minutes would best be spent outside of my office and my house.  I walked down to the pond on my property, which for me is one of the most peaceful places on earth and I’m so blessed to have it on my property.  I sat there, watching the fish and frogs swim around the edge of the pond, listening to the birds and all the other sounds of spring.  Yes, spring had finally arrived. I was sitting outside and was not cold – that in and of itself felt like joy. The sun felt warm, almost hot.  I was listening to the sounds of spring and relishing in all the scents of the new season.  I was totally absorbed in enjoying this beautiful space for about 15 minutes when the ideas for my workshop that I’d been begging to come to me 30 minutes earlier started to flood my brain.

I wondered if I should quickly run back up to the house so I could jot them all down before the disappeared but instead I allowed myself another 15 minutes to simply enjoy the surroundings.  And, amazingly enough the ideas kept coming – they never stopped and were even more plentiful when I did get back into my office.  Those 30-minutes away from my desk allowed the rest of my afternoon of work to be much more productive.  I’ve experienced this before many times – how stepping away from a problem and focusing our attention on something else allows the solution to arise or, how allowing ourselves to stop agonizing over a decision we’re trying to make suddenly enables us to know exactly what to do.  And, how when we experience writer’s block, the best thing to do is step away from the computer and do something completely different.  The act of stepping away allows the ideas, solutions, and best decisions to flow to us.  Despite the fact that I know this, I still resist and believe that one day staring at that computer screen will pay off and it will have the answers I seek.  If only I weren’t so stubborn….

I’d love to hear what you do in situations like these – please feel free to comment or share with us on Facebook.

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