Eastgate Systems      Serious Hypertext

Displacement Activity


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Journal page © 2005 Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Reproduced by permission of the artist.

Displacement activities are things you do when you're thinking -- perhaps unconsciously -- about something else.

Displacement activities are deeply embedded in animal consciousness. They most probably evolved as a way to avoid dangerous mental bugs. By making animals sometimes decide to do things that don't address their immediate needs, displacement activities ensure that animals don't completely neglect low-priority essentials (grooming their fur, or preening their feathers) even when they are hungry or anxious.

Displacement activities like doodling can be essential for creativity and indispensable for calm. Don't overlook their value as stress busters, and don't feel guilty for using displacement activities. Organizing your notes, or adding metadata -- dates, illustrations, page numbers -- can give you time to mull over a problem or to reach a satisfactory but difficult decision.

Prepping your pages can be a productive displacement activity. For some, the daily or weekly sweep of stray notes into your master notebook can serve the same function.