Many people do their creative thinking using tools such as mind maps. That’s a good thing, and I also like mind maps (though I use OneNote’s outlines more often than mind maps). However, recently I find another tool which is also helpful for creative thinking: JDarkRoom.
Actually JDarkRoom is just a simple text editor. What special about it is its interface. When you run it, JDarkRoom will change your entire screen into a blank screen. You will only see its blinking green cursor and a mouse cursor (if you don’t hide it). Other than these, there is absolutely nothing on the screen. When you type, the text will be displayed in green color with black background. It’s like you are sent back to the good old days of DOS!
I find it very useful. The fact that there’s nothing else displayed on the screen allows me to focus entirely on the task in front of me. No disruption, no eye candy, nothing. Just me and the task. Just me… and the task. Such situation gives me a peace of mind, a “mind like water”. It is a good condition for me to enter the “flow” state, a condition where I lose track of time and have my creative juice flows freely.
I also like the black background. Unlike most word processors’ interface which is dominated by bright colors, the black background is less irritating to the eyes. I can stare at the monitor for long time without making my eyes tired. This ability to look at the monitor for long time is another good condition for me to get into the “flow”.
It is such a simple tool, but I find it helpful to boost my creativity. I’m sure you will also find it so.