This morning I posted a short bog article on Notes from Rational Support outlining the “Think Friday” and hackday concepts in IBM as different ways of implementing Google’s 20% time policy. I’d encourage you to take a few moments and check it out…. In that short post, however I didn’t touch on the logistics of how to make the shift from focused work to a more creative or non-work related project.
For many of us, it is difficult if not impossible to simply flip a switch and go from your daily tasks to allowing the muse to take hold. Sometimes you just need to stop and refocus when inspiration hits, other times you need to set aside a specific period of time to devote and hope that the creativity flows when you want it to.
So, what do you do when you need to be innovative or creative in a set period of time?
What works for me: mid-afternoon showers.
I doubt I’ll find any disagreement that some (if not most) of our best ideas come to us in the shower. So, use that to your advantage! Now I know many of you may not have the luxury afforded to me by working from home, and for that I’m sorry. I have, however, found that an afternoon shower both invigorates me as well as gives me the time to detach from technology and think over problems rather than acting upon them. That combination often coalesces in small epiphanies or germination of ideas to follow-up on later, typically within 20 minutes time, if only to write it down so I don’t forget.
What to do if you don’t have opportunity to take a mi-afternoon shower? Well, make whatever time you have work for you. If you are like me and get great ideas in the shower, perhaps waking 30 minutes earlier to give you time to write ideas down immediately after your morning shower, or showering in the evening/night and taking the time to log down ideas to build out later will work for you. Or, maybe showers aren’t the trigger for your muse… find what is and give some attention, some time to flourish; after all, your muse will do nothing if it doesn’t have some level of priority in your life.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some ideas to go think about…