I have a confession…I haven’t been feeling very creative lately. The past few weeks have thrown me off my game as the unpredictability of life keeps knocking on my door in a myriad of ways. Worrying over things I can’t control stole some of the time I’d typically use to think about inspiration or noodle around in my sketchbook. As I looked for distractions from my worries (instead of making stuff), I came across two articles that reminded me how important it is to guard my creative time, despite life and its frustrations.
The first article from Quartz.com, titled “Happiness Research Shows the Biggest Obstacle To Creativity Is Being Too Busy” by Emma Seppälä, and the second article from Campaign, titled “Why Your iPhone Is Killing Your Creativity” by John Long, both discuss the negative effects of our busy lives on the ability to produce creative ideas. Simply put, our Eureka! moments are being shoved out of the way by work and technology.
Seppälä sums up the problem:
“…many of us can go entire days without putting our brains on idle. At work, we’re intensely analyzing problems, organizing data, writing—all activities that require focus. During downtime, we immerse ourselves in our phones while standing in line at the store or lose ourselves in Netflix after hours.”
If there could be a show of hands for people who are “screen addicts,” as Long calls them, I’d be the first to raise my hand. I don’t watch commercials, I check Twitter or Instagram instead, and I have a habit of poking around the internet before I go to sleep, which is typically my best time for inspirational thoughts to strike. After reading these two articles though, I realized that I’m fueling my own creativity rut by trying to distract myself from other problems. Without breaking the cycle, I can see how easy it would be to stop making anything at all.
Long provides a simple solution in his article closing:
“…take a long walk. Stare out the window…But by all means, turn off that zombie leech and let your mind roam in the clouds. That’s where the good stuff is.”
So, today, I’m making time. I’m putting my phone down and letting my mind wander. I hope you’ll join me in freeing your mind, at least for a little while.