Mindless activities can do wonders for the creative process
I started this morning with a half hour run. I’m far from a fitness junkie but I’m trying to do a bit of regular exercise to keep my Fitbit happy.
In those 2.64 miles (every step counts), I had the lightbulb moment I needed in planning a new campaign for a client. Although we’d been making good progress, I felt we were lacking a key ingredient to tie everything together. Thankfully, the solution spontaneously popped into my head while I was pounding the streets.
Having your best ideas at random moments is nothing new. One of the first campaigns I worked on at Fishburn Hedges was based on research about working from home (which was pretty rare in those days). I seem to remember several people claimed to have their best ideas in the bath! But these days, many ‘mindless’ activities are interrupted with all manner of distractions, whether it’s listening to music while exercising or watching catchup tv on your tablet while you bathe.
My friend and business coach recently attended a leadership training event which included spending several hours alone in a field with nothing but a pen and paper. She came back buzzing, and told me: “My head was brimming with ideas – the most urgent being that I need to find a field to sit in on a regular basis!”
It’s January, and like everyone else, my social media feeds and email inbox have been awash with suggestions of how to improve my productivity, get more done and be more mindful. Apps offer countless solutions to help you plan everything, from when to brush your teeth to what to cook for dinner.
There’s definitely a place for tools which aid productivity and I’m a big fan of mindful meditation. But there’s also a lot to be said for giving your brain a break. So next time you’re struggling to come up with a creative idea, before you head to the brainstorming boardroom, why not try a bit of mindless distraction first?