I woke up this morning and needed to go to a routine doctors appointment, I knew I would be there for quite some time. Sitting here in the doctor’s office made me realize I had something on my mind, I just had to get out. Something that I have learned from personal experience, it is why downtime is important for creative types!!
Downtime is defined as quiet time, it is the time we sit in quiet and just think!
While here in the doctor’s office, I could have watched Netflix or played Facebook but instead I just sat! Suddenly within minutes the thoughts in my head started flowing and I had to get them out. Don’t worry I am not at the psychiatrist, that’s next week. All kidding aside sitting in a quiet place should be a required part of everyone’s day, especially those that engage in producing creative content. The creative types as I call them.
As your coach, here are some exercises that will encourage creative types to focus on their thought’s and ideas to produce a more focused person. I suggest practicing these simple exercises multiple times per week until you find a method and rhythm of thought that works for you. Find your happy spot, turn off your electronic notifications and follow this routine. For example, my routine is 45 minutes, sitting outside on the balcony at the public library listening to the sounds of nature including a flowing creek.. I can’t think of a better place to be editing and publishing a blog post. Doing this 3 times a week gives me the break I need from the demanding corporate job and some well needed time to think.
Make sure you have several sheets of paper, my favorite, or a digital device to write down the thoughts in your head. Why is writing down these ideas important? Well quite frankly it is so that you can fill the empty space in your head with further thoughts!! I know from my experience of doing these exercises, every thought I write down, another comes to mind! The moral of the story get it out! It doesn’t matter if you ever do anything with it. But get it out make room for fresh thoughts with absolutely no judgment!
I have always asked myself, why have I not focused like this sooner? Why have I not allowed myself to be creative? This knowledge is not new to me, so why am I not doing it? Well the answer is: FEAR!
It is fear that people will think I am not productive! Fear of publishing my thoughts as they might not be good enough! Well all of this is quite silly thinking.
“Get it out, it doesn’t matter if you do anything with it” -Danny Mullen
How do I know this, well over the last 6 months I have been practicing these methods and I have created more then I have in many years. My 6th grade teacher knew this, why did I not listen? We used to go to the park from time to time and take our notebooks for creative thought hour. How is it that something a grade school teacher knew did not stick as part of a habit in my life?
Recently, I realized that I was very creative in life. College was a time that truly stands out and I can say things were truly on my time. I relate college to being able to have the freedom of time! Time to think on my terms. This is why I think most corporate jobs are creating less creative people. It is because we always have to do things on their timeline not ours. I promise you, take a look around your company at the people that you believe are the most creative, I think you will see at trend of significant downtime they have. It is actually quite amazing if you think about it.
How do we improve, well in addition to doing the exercises sited above.
We must learn good time management skills. Try to focus on something until completion and stop the constant distractions.
I leave you with one last piece of advice today, don’t make excuses and say I don’t have time… you do ! Constantly saying this will make you believe it! So starting NOW, stop!