Where has downtime gone? Recently I considered this question as I was watching a young mom walking her baby in a stroller with one hand and on her iPhone with the other–multi-tasking versus just being with her child. I hate to admit it; but I have been guilty of similar juggling acts, though not that one exactly. My day is absolutely filled to the brim and I bet yours is too. The connected world waits for no one. Yet, in the waiting and just being, there is creativity. And, today we need creativity more than ever.
Creativity is fueled by many things, curiosity, diversity, inspiration, empathy, passion, divergence, convergence. These are the popular topics of most blogs on creativity, innovation, design thinking, etc. However, a little spoken truth is also that creativity is fueled by downtime, such as rest, play, sleep, disengagement. When I design a creative process, one of the things I control for is that stepping away time for the brain to be able to focus elsewhere in order to process, meander. If you try to push on without this downtime, you might miss the eureka moment that leads to the big idea. Yet, the tendency is for people with an urgent creative deliverable to cram every second of the day with ‘productive, engaged work’. I think that is dangerous to getting results. I plan creative processes to have both the highly engaged time and the step away time. I want our brains to have a little break to meander and emerge with the novel thought.
It is not easy to do. I am better at it if I am designing a creative process for you than if I am managing my own self. That is why this past month when I went on vacation, I expected to be connected and to continue to blog and to work. To my surprise, I had to take a real break because my wireless wasn’t working and my iPhone was also not cooperating with filling all the time. Instead, I walked on the beach with my dogs, kayaked in the marsh, stared at the stars at night and slept soundly. I feel refreshed and now how so many new ideas for my business and my clients. A little creative pause was just the ticket. I recommend you find a way to build a little creative pause into your schedule too.
Read this blog on tips for the creative pause.