Do you ever read articles or books on productivity? They talk about time wasters--surfing the internet, checking Facebook and Twitter, playing computer games--and tell you to get rid of them. There are even apps and software that will block you from the internet or certain websites, things like that, all in the name of getting more done.
Have you ever tried any of the productivity techniques and apps and suggestions? I have, and I noticed something odd. I didn't start creating more. I think I might have even started creating less. And I felt stressed and pressured. Overall I didn't feel like it was a good experiment.
I think trying to corral myself that way and keep to a schedule and get things done all the time was stifling me and my creativity. I think creative people (maybe all people, because we're all creative, after all) need more space--mentally, temporally, sometimes physically. We need time to stare at the wall or off into space, doodle and hum to ourselves and let our daydreams run wild. And I'm not the only one who thinks we need time for dreaming. This article by Jonah Lehrer has excellent information on why daydreaming is important. This one by Susanne Gargiulo is also very good.
Is this license to sit in our pajamas scrolling through Facebook all day? No. At least not every day. We don't want to box ourselves in and smother our creativity with over-productivity, but we also don't actually want to just do nothing. So what do we do to find a good balance between those?
That's where my creative time wasters come in. Creative time wasters are things that help me free my thoughts, help me get in some daydreaming down time and feed my creativity at the same time. They help me get to that mindless state that lets my creativity get going, and they also help stir up new creative ideas. Here are my favorites:'
- Coloring. I especially love Dover's Creative Haven coloring books which are made for grown-ups
- Dancing. I do this a lot in the kitchen with headphones in singing at the top of my lungs. Very freeing, and very stirring, and it really clears the mind.
- Pinterest. I spend my time there looking at things that are related to whatever my current creative interest is. Art journaling. Writing quotes. Photography. Surfing. But spend some time browsing randomly, too, because you never know what will spark something in you.
- Walking. Getting out, moving around, letting your body move gently and your mind wander while nature works her magic on you.
- Reading. A good novel or two is an excellent way to relax your mind. It moves you away from your own creative projects and lets them percolate in the background while you have grand adventures.
- Drawing. Sketching, doodling, Zentangles, anything like that will help your mind relax and your thoughts wander, plus it's creative all on its own.
What about you? What creative time wasters do you love? What helps you let your mind wander and get clear so there's room for inspiration to get in?