You and your brain. You’re a team. Except when you aren’t. Then you get stuck in a Mexcian standoff: your brain, threatening to never gift you with a creative idea again. You, threatening to drown him in coffee or (let’s admit it) red wine until he comes up with something good. This is – shockingly – usually ineffective.
I’m guilty of this all the time. Especially with coffee, and then the subsequent reading of productivity blogs. Input, input input. And more input. My poor brain never has a moments rest. But I recently read a blog post by one of my favorite online people about the importance of downtime for creativity. In her words: “bored brains are creative brains.”
I love this.
Of course it’s only true up to a point. But it is true. If you’re filling every moment of your day with work, blogs, emails, and social media, then relaxing at night with a book, or in front of the TV, your brain can’t get a word in edge wise. And then, when you try to go to bed, it starts spitting out all the great ideas that have been pushed out of the way all day.
You know that feeling: your head hits the pillow and suddenly… “whirrrrrrr” go your thoughts, until you get the feeling you need to keep a notepad beside your bed so you can jot them all down. Gets me almost every night.
But I’ve found that taking just 15 or 20 minutes during the day for a little down-time can make a big difference. Just sitting there, letting the random thoughts buzz through my head… sure, sometimes it’s really just random, but then again there are nuggets of gold in there often enough to make it worth it.
So give it a try. Go walk around the block without your headphones. Or stare out the window and let yourself do nothing for a few minutes. Let your brain get bored, and see what he comes up with.