Not you and I, sorry if that got your hopes up.
No. Alexander Graham Bell.
I was reading a fascinating article about his secret to greater productivity, figuring (of course) that I could benefit by availing myself of that secret. (I’m told that a lot.)
Here’s an excerpt from that article, bolded highlights are where I think we have kinship:
When … on to some new idea and feeling a surge of inspiration, he could work with obsessive focus… he had “periods of restlessness when my brain is crowded with ideas tingling to my fingertips when I am excited and cannot stop for anybody.” During such times… [he] asked that no one…disturb him, lest such interruptions burst the gossamer threads of his emerging ideas. “Thoughts are like the precious moments that fly past; once gone they can never be caught again.”
However, while [his] focus could be laser-like when he was chasing down a eureka moment, much of the time his mind was in fact quite scattered and distracted. While he liked to tinker and dream, he hated getting down to … brass tacks…; he detested dealing with details, the painstaking effort required to verify … He enjoyed intellectual exploration more for its own sake, than any concrete results.
Part of [his] difficulty buckling down also simply had to do with his resplendent imagination and wide-ranging curiosity. He was interested in so many different things that he had trouble thinking about a single idea for any span of time. His mind wished to jump from subject to subject and from observation to observation; he enjoyed reading through encyclopedia entries before going to bed [note: these days that could be replaced by incessant internet surfing], and carried around a pocket notebook to jot down his frequent and varied insights (he had a knack for finding inspiration in any setting).
“[You] like to fly around like a butterfly sipping honey, more or less from a flower here or another flower there.”
[His] “flightiness” was actually a big part of his genius, which largely rested on his ability to find novel connections between disparate ideas. But his desire to work on many things at once also greatly hindered his progress in moving forward on any one project.
[Note: I make no claim or implication regarding genius, it’s just that we have so-much-in-common.]
To bring a little organization to his often fragmented thoughts, Bell came up with a method of using what we’ve chosen to dub “location-based prompts.” “Convinced that his physical surroundings induced specific trains of thoughts,” his biographer explains, “he established particular workspaces for particular purposes.”
And that’s what I’m going to try next. Location-based prompts. As soon as I get more of my flood-lost home office furniture replaced. There’s just so much you can get done on an old door resting atop sawhorses.