By Kathy Henderson, Director of Economic Development, CCEDC
On the advice of a friend, I have been reading “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. It is a 12- week self-study course on un-blocking your creativity which I have found to be very enlightening. The core of the class is to begin with writing your morning pages every day. It does not matter what you write, just put down on paper whatever is on your mind. I call it my daily brain dump!
This practice does not sound like much but believe me it has a lot of benefits. Writing something down no matter what it is relieves your brain of all the junk that you have been storing there and opens space to do other much more productive and creative thinking.
That leads me to another important practice, giving yourself “No Time”. It is not what it sounds like. “No Time” is quiet time alone and isolated from the noise and demands of the world. In other words, you are saying no to doing anything but just being.
Albert Einstein accepted that many times the most valuable ideas occurred to him while doing nothing and enjoying his own “no time.” Most of my best ideas come when I’m doing something else such as making dinner or mowing the lawn. My mind is at rest and suddenly an idea hits me from out of nowhere.
Some of the most successful people use “no time”. Steve Jobs was notorious for looking like he was doing nothing at all. “The time Steve Jobs procrastinated and pondered the possibilities was time well spent letting more divergent ideas emerge,” Wharton professor Adam Grant once said of Jobs’ long periods of aimless inactivity in an interview with Business Insider.
In other words, “no time” helps us relax enough to see the big picture and allow innovative ideas to come to light. The hustle and bustle brought on by everyday life, even your well-intentioned morning yoga class, can chase away any type of creative thoughts.
Steven Kotler, author of the book “The Art of the Impossible” and a TED speaker, pointed out that “no time” has to do with a quiet moment in which a person can isolate himself, herself or themselves from the noise and demands of the world.
Kotler says that neuroscience shows that disconnection time blocks have a large influence on creativity.
My “no time” is first thing in the morning or in the evening when I take the dog for a walk. It forces me to get outside and just take in nature. While I’m enjoying nature, I make sure that I also practice gratitude. Some people may think all this is a waste of time, however, to me these practices are an important part of self-care and jumpstarting my creativity.
How do you practice “no time”?