Sometimes the biggest obstacle to creativity is a non-spacious mind. How often do you find yourself stuck in endless meetings and non-productive working hours? I can assure you that I’ve been there. Even if you by nature consider yourself a creative person, that kind of environment will slowly block your creative skills. That is why we as leaders, employees or simply just the people we are need to do one thing; prioritizing.
We don’t really like to. Maybe we are too engaged or involved in numerous projects, maybe we don’t want to miss an opportunity, and maybe we just never really said no to anything. But prioritizing is not a negative thing. It’s really useful, and when you choose that one essential thing, you create the space in your mind and in your working schedule to become more creative.
Recent research has shown that the brain needs downtime to be creative. Creativity is what happens when you give your mind a break from analyzing and documenting, and let it be non-focused, idle, or daydreaming. So in fact prioritizing time off is really beneficial to both your well being and your performance at work.
In the past I have found it really difficult to say no to anything or anyone. I did not want to miss out on anything, and I thought others would consider me weak if I said no to a new project. Now I have learned that when you have found one essential thing that you want to pursue, it’s much more easy to say no to the endless line of other possibilities. It takes practice, but slowly it becomes a habit.
How did I do it? I found myself in a really stressful period of my life and took a time-out to reconnect with my body and mind. I read a wonderful book (check out my book recommendations) and got the courage to take the next step; leave a job that I loved, because it didn’t give me the opportunity to prioritize time and energy on the things that I found really important.
After several months in a vacuum I started reading about creativity and creative potentials to catch up on new research published since I went to college. I realized that we know so much more now, but there is a huge lack of knowledge in both public and private organizations. So many people on all levels struggle to deliver top results and at the same time encourage creativity in more or less useful ways. I hope this blog can inspire you to release your creative potential; not by decorating meeting rooms, but by changing your habits and focus your time and energy on your one essential thing.
If you want to learn more about this topic, I warmly recommend the book “Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less” by Greg McKeown.
Also check out this blog post by Emma Seppälä, Science Director at Stanford University:
The image above is from my visit to The Garden at Tangkrogen in Aarhus (DK) in 2017, the year of the European Capital of Culture. This piece called Be-Hide by German artist, Alicja Kwade really speaks to my imagination. One stone is real, the other is an aluminium 3D-printed copy. With the mirror she plays with our ability to see what is real and what is not.