Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Time Management Tuesday: Can Finding More Time To Work Spur Creativity?

Writers are often advised to write every day. In fact, we've discussed that issue here, when I brought up the points that writing every day means, presumably, generating more work, as well as encouraging flow and break-out experiences.

Personally, I have never been able to maintain a daily writing practice. On weekends, it's difficult for me to even maintain an exercise practice because of the extra people I need to and actually often even want to deal with, forget about getting away to write. And for many years now, I haven't been able to work five days a week during the workweek because of various family commitments.

Last week was not one of those weeks.

For reasons that are beside the point, I was able to work five days last week. I was here, anyway, for five days. I was home, working every day of the week. My guess is that this was the first time since 2009. Last summer I was often down to two days a week, and I'd been doing only three, at best, since the beginning of last December.

My week of work was somewhat disappointing. I didn't realize until last Thursday that last week was going to turn out the way it did, so I didn't have anything specific planned. I might have used last week as its own unit of time and planned something special to accomplish during it, if I had known it was coming up. On top of that, I had no electricity for nearly two hours on Wednesday, I wasn't feeling well late Wednesday afternoon and most of Thursday morning, and I lost another two hours on Friday to shoveling snow. By Friday evening, I was feeling I'd lost a great opportunity.

Then things started getting interesting on Saturday.

All I had time for that morning was a shortened stint on the treadmill where I tuned in to a panel discussion on MSNBC. But while walking and watching I came up with an idea I could use in the workshop presentation I'd been working on last week. On my way to visit an elder just a couple of hours later, I came up with some ideas for a response to an appearance request I'd received Friday afternoon. While talking with a family member on Sunday, I came up with still another idea I might be able to use in the workshop.

Three ideas in less than forty-eight hours when I wasn't working at all. (Well, I did run from the treadmill to the word processor to jot down that first bit for the workshop.) But I had been working previously. And I had been working what was for me a lot.

All those ideas could be described as break-out experiences, since they dealt with work I was already involved in, and break-out experiences are described in The Break-out Principle a method of  maximizing creativity. I've had other experiences when managing to do even a little work on a weekend had a positive impact on the next week's work. And I've also had vacations when I've been able to do more journal work and found myself coming up with far more material than I usually do. And that would be new material, not solutions to problems, as with the break-out experiences.

On the subject of creativity, John Cleese has talked about the need for time to ponder and believes that taking more time to ponder leads to more creative work. I wasn't clear on how much time he was talking about or what kind of pondering. So what I'm wondering is, will just putting in more time on creative work, pondering one particular issue or not, lead to more creativity?

Does creativity lead to creativity?

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