Thursday, 5 May 2011

...when I'm sitting at my desk thinking hard

having asked many thousands of people where they have their best ideas, I have yet to have anyone say it's when they are sitting at their desk, thinking hard.

There is always a component of that situation that provides a source of fresh stimulus, material or energy that assists in the creative process - be that a great view or the radio in the background.  I have two top tips this week for getting to a richer place when needing to think differently.  I am posting this for first thing on a Friday morning so you can action upon it right away and try both.

Firsty, I'm assuming your world of work isn't just singluar focus.  You probably have several projects on at once and spend your day dancing between them in intense bursts.  The occassional meeting, toilet break and client phone call break up the routine but otherwise you're at the screen typing up, sending emails and marching on.
I have no context about any of your projects but I do know that changing your environment when shifting from one to another will unlock fresher thinking.  Doing so changes your physicality and in doing so, your ability to be sensitised to new material and to make new connections.  If you choose to sit still with the same headphones on locked into Spotify, your unconscious is just being fed the same diet.


get up. go for a walk. get some fresh air and go back and sit somewhere else and physically drop anchor elsewhere.  Some of the most creative people I know think whilst bouncing balls, walking round the park or by picking up their pads and moving from one room to another - this is not rocket science and by no means should I get high up the literal charts in this advice to my readers. All I can say is it's true.  I spent my whole day in a treehouse today with 8 people practising idea generation and the best way we had to deal with getting tired was breaking the rhythm of being sat still.

The bigger advice is more of a contextual watchout.

You have a choce when managing a project.  Take on the responsiblity of delivery personally, deliver the project on time, to budget, exceed client expectations, excite and delight everyone but you and look forward to early career burn out OR create the conditions where others can learn and problem solve with you, trust the process will look after itself and allow the answers to emerge (which, if you're truely being creative, they will).
This takes a little more time to master but the first step is atunement to 'how you are' with the 'what's going on' around you.  If you're finding no-one can do it but you, it's the first sign you've fallen out of rhythm with your project.

go for a walk and come back again and do something different.

have a good day.

(and an even better weekend).


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