Is being distracted bad? That's the question Leo Widrich, co-founder of Bufferapp asks on his blog. @LeoWid elaborates: "I also asked myself this: Is the ease of which I am getting distracted so bad? After all I had a lot of new ideas to work on and fortunately also realized early enough that I better finish them all individually." I replied the following:
Getting distracted is not always a bad thing... Especially when your are looking for something and finding a totally other, but useful thing. This is the way Fleming found penicilline. And the way, for example, tea bags and post-its were 'found'. It's called serendipity: finding what you're not looking for.
It requires a certain state of mind, however. A certain antenna, connected to your 'buffer' of unsolved problems and unanswered questions. And, in combination with this fuzzy state of mind, a solid anchor to the question you started with.
Some people call it creativity, others refer to it as easily distracted. I prefer to look at it as a fruitful combination of focus and perifiral view: an excellent state of mind for hunters...
But, admittedly, pen and paper will help!
Follow Leo at: twitter.com/LeoWid