For me, putting pencil, pen or brush to paper is the best way to improve my focus and stay motivated by the task at hand. Like dreaming, I believe that doodling or any stream of consciousness catharsis of excess thoughts, emotions and mental baggage picked up during the day, is necessary in order to make the space in ones head required to really give anything it’s due attention. For me, it is when I really get deep into something that I get excited by it—when I really truly understand the problem, that the “how” and the “why” become something marvelous to be discerned. I struggle to get to this point when my head is filled with unrelated stuff.
By letting my thoughts wander while recording them, sometimes the stuff floating around in there that was supposed to be junk will lead somewhere interesting and relevant, and can fuel the excitement that makes me dive into a task.
Most of the time, I will start by grabbing some random ephemera from nearby to use as a starting point or will start writing about something on my mind until it changes over to a sneak peak under the hood when I stop thinking about what I am doing.
Sometimes it can be helpful to go back through these outpourings to find ideas that have been worked through or put aside so I try to keep them together in sketchbooks—voraciously consumed and then stacked in my attic—but the format is less important than the action for me so anything from the backs of receipts, to notepads or even napkins at restaurants are fair game if there is something I need to do. Since there always is something that has to get done, I may not have my cell phone on me but you can bet I will have at least 3 or 4 writing instruments to keep me moving forward, excited about the task at hand because my mind is clutter free.