Ever come up with a brilliant idea, but had no where to write it down? Ever have the solution to a huge problem just “come to you”, but you were in the shower or half a sleep in bed? Often times our best ideas come to us when we are not intentionally working on the ideas themselves. Why is that? Its a good problem to have right? Who doesn’t want to come up with more great ideas? This is how you can make it as a creative—come up with creative ideas. But what’s the secret?
If you are going to be successful as a creative, ie, doing something creative for a living, then you must find a way to find space. You need space from stimulation—anything with a screen. You need space from people and conversations. You need space from your email and to-do list.
This doesn’t mean a sabbatical in the Himalayas is necessary, although that could be nice. Studies show that a few minutes of separation or distraction from a project helps people gain fresh ideas.
The best way to find space and to ensure you actually do something with it. Try this:
If you are like most people, your calendar tells you where to be and what to do. By scheduling space into your weekly calendar, you are more likely to actually find it. Plug in 10-15 minutes here or there.
Where to find space
- Go on a walk.
- Eat lunch outside, with no technology
- End meetings 10 minutes early
- Breakfast, once a week, alone
- In the car, no radio, podcasts, or phone calls
- I started leaving my lunch in my car so I would have to take a few minutes to walk down to get it.
Take A Pen!
There’s no use in carving our space to allow the mind to roam free for better ideas if you don’t have a way of capturing them. So, always have a pen and paper ready. Yes, you’ll most likely have your phone, but not always. Often, I think having the offline pen and paper is better.
I’ll take an index card and a pen into meetings where I know it would be rude to type on my phone. I keep a notebook and pen next to my bed. I even have a waterproof pen and pad in the shower. The point is, you never know when inspiration is going to strike. So, be prepared.
Why we don’t take the time for space:
– We think it’s not as productive as other activities. We could be responding to more emails, attending one more meeting, reading one more report. I haven’t found a study that shows more emails leads to more creativity.
– We think our boss or colleagues will think we’re not really working.
– We view space as a luxury not a necessity. We take time for what’s truly important.
– It’s not a habit. Studies show that a majority of our decision making comes from habits formed over time. What we eat, wear comes from habits. If you can build space into your schedule, it will be come part of your routine.