Hello hello and welcome to From the Desk of Nettio Designs Issue No. 12. After taking a short break last week, I’m excited to be back chatting with you again today about something I believe is key to the creative process: the importance of downtime.
As memory keepers, and especially tech-lovin’ memory keepers, it can be easy to feel a huge amount of pressure to “keep up.” Not only are we constantly bombarded with a huge amount of visual and mental stimulation on a daily basis, but we’ve chosen a hobby which at it’s core is about capturing the passing of time. And let’s face it, time doesn’t simply stop because your scrap mojo goes missing, am I right?
One of the things I’ve learned in seven years as a scrapbooker is that, much like capturing new memories or seeking out new sources of inspiration, downtime is a key component of my creative process. It is in these moments of downtime – when I take a step back and do something completely unrelated to scrapbooking – that I not only find my most creative solutions, but my brain clears up and the ideas start flowing.
If you’ve ever heard someone say they “get all their best ideas in the shower,” you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s often referred to as a “creative pause” – a period of time where you disengage from a creative activity and let your brain just be.
The shower is an ideal place for this because not only is it usually a distraction-free zone but the sound of the falling water acts as white noise and the task at hand – washing your hair or shaving your legs – is mindless enough that you could probably do it in your sleep. All of these things combine to give your brain space to do what it does best – solve problems and make new connections.
Ideas For Taking A Creative Pause
Now of course, it’s probably not practical to take a shower every time you need a creative boost. So what are some other ways you can take a creative pause?
Well here are few of my favorites:
- Take a walk around your neighborhood
- Go for a hike
- Clean your house
- Blow dry your hair (or do your makeup)
- Go for a drive
- Stand in line without checking your phone
Will it be weird at first? Most likely, yes. In our technology-driven world of 24/7 information and stimulation, we’ve largely forgotten what it’s like to be bored, what it’s like to be unstimulated. Our first instinct when we have any moment of downtime is to reach for our iPhone or iPad or Kindle to fill the void. I know I’m certainly guilty of this as well!
But just like our stomachs needs time to digest food after a big Thanksgiving meal, ours brain needs time to digest and make sense of all of the inspiration and information we take in on a daily basis too. Which is why as creatives, if we want to keep our brains in tip-top creative shape and avoid un-fun things like burnout or missing mojo, we need to not only embrace these moments of downtime but actively seek them out as part of our creative process.
Which brings me to this week’s Creative Adventure:
It’s Creative Adventure Time!
Your challenge this week is to take a “creative pause.” Choose a mindless task from the list above (or one of your own) and spend at least 15 minutes really disconnecting – step away from your computer/TV/phone/Kindle screens and give your mind space to wonder.
Then pay attention to how your brain feels both as you’re doing your task and after. Did the ideas start flowing? Did your brain feel lighter after? Or were you just itching to get back to your electronic device of choice, haha? Of course, if you’re feeling chatty, you’re welcome to leave a comment below and let me know how it went.
This post is Issue No. 12 of my From The Desk of Nettio Designs weekly email series. Want to get in on the action? Sign up for Nettio Designs emails here.