The rat race is real, and can have real consequences if you let it consume you..
We might feel like there is so much to do every day and not enough time to do it. However, in order to tap into some of greatest insights, we must first have to do nothing..
Creativity Challenge #8:
A Timeout to Get Grounded
Remember when you really messed up as a kid and your parents would send you to your room with no phone/internet/tv.. As you get older, you no longer have anyone to discipline you by exiling you from all the trivial distractions that surround and consume us throughout the day. We all have never-ending To-Do lists with tasks that tend to attack us from all angles.. We beat back the tides of responsibility daily and enjoy any respite we get by wrapping ourselves up in a comfort blanket of mindless media.
We might have desires to produce creative works, but we can't get seem to find the right ideas. However, we could be doing it all wrong.. perhaps all we need to to stop doing. Instead of constantly seeking out the next big idea.. let that insight come to you.
Sometimes, in order to achieve something, we must do nothing.
Our hyperactive culture is obsessed with doing something, no matter how useless or futile. Look at anyone waiting in line at Starbucks or on the bus, every spare second we take out our phone to check emails, texts, facebook.. Our waking thoughts are consumed with tasks and tidbits. We believe it's better.. its imperative to DO something and not WASTE time ..
There is a reason many writers prefer to write in cafes. J.K. Rowling once said that this practice " got me away from temptations of the Internet. At home, by contrast, there's no end to the useful tasks that I can find to occupy myself." Sometimes working can be the most insidious form of procrastination. Creativity does not come easily. It's much simpler for our brains to tackle doing the laundry, replying to email, surfing the internet or dusting the furniture.
These chores are enticing because they make us feel productive. But if we want to make headway on creative projects we might need to ignore the busy work. Would you rather a tidy room and a blank canvas, or a messy apartment and a completed work of art?
Crime write Raymond Chandler used to set aside four hours every day to do nothing! He gave him two simple rules during his timeout. 1) You don't have to write. AND 2) You can't do anything else. The rest comes of itself. Chandler wasn't forcing himself to write, but he was stopping himself from doing anything that would distract him from writing.
Today's Challenge is this: Take a much needed time hour.. find a block of time that you can incorporate into your day, or week that you can block out to do nothing. Ground yourself from doing chores, using the internet and watching TV. Let everyone know that you will be unavailable during that time. and then. do nothing.. You'll be painfully aware of how hard it has come for us to pause our compulsive ticks for activity and just be still. But if you want to truly do something creative, do something original, then try doing nothing.