Freedom gives some practical steps to take to clear your mind ahead of creative work. The post begins from the premise that, sometimes when we sit down to do focused work, our minds sometimes remind us of everything besides that work. In response,
You could throw your hands up and spend the next two hours — the hours you set aside for your art — chasing ball after ball as your brain lobs them at you.
You could tough it out, trying to fumble your way through your work while your brain continues to yell chaos at you.
Or, you could sweep all the chaos out of your brain and lock it out of sight.
Let’s do that last one. It’s easier than you think.
I’ve found value in several of the specific recommendations Freedom provides for choosing this last option. For the full list of suggestions, see the original post.
Brett McKay discusses willpower with Kelly McGonigal, a psychology professor at Stanford and author of The Willpower Instinct. The discussion has some helpful observations for anyone needing to do something challenging like learning a language or writing a dissertation.