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The Crock Pot Approach to Creativity
 

Your business may keep you racing like a frantic short order cook, but truly great ideas require a slow simmer, advises the founder of Behance. Save a little time to stir these pots.

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You’ve no doubt heard of Google’s famous 20 percent time, and here on Inc.com we recentlly offered another bit of advice for long-term sucess that suggests only working to 80 percent of your capacity on a daily basis.

But these aren’t the only percentage-based rules of thumb out there. Behance’s founder Scott Belsky recently offered another. His magic number: 5 percent.  

Like the other tips, Belsky’s suggestion boils down to setting aside some time for less immediate concerns and not burn all your energy on putting out myriad small daily emergencies, but he adds a culinary twist to his advice. “The secret behind many of the greatest dishes is patience and pacing. When you cook something slowly, at lower heat for a longer time, the flavors and textures can yield culinary masterpieces. The process of our own creations isn’t much different,” Belsky begins his post.

Like the best chili sits in the marinating in its own juices all day, some of the best ideas need plenty of time to stew, so make sure you devote a small portion of your schedule to keeping that crock pot of ideas topped up and simmering, he urges readers:

Few of us, except for the most legendary painters and novelists, can “slow cook” for a living. Amidst everyday demands, we are line cooks obsessed with turning out results, and quickly. And this is a good thing--it’s how we keep up with demand and how we keep the lights on.

But we can round out our work by keeping a few slow-cooked projects going in the background of our frenetic day-to-day lives. The secret of slow cooking is to not to forget what you’ve got on the stove, and keep coming back to it. See if you can give these “slow projects” 5 perent of your time as part of your routine.

What sort of projects benefit from this crock pot approach? Belsky suggests that for him writing projects and business ideas have benefited from being given lots and lots of time to mentally slow roast. Check out his complete post for more details.

Whatever particular percentage you choose or exactly how you phrase the insight, all of these rules of thumb share one fundamental idea: putting all of yourself into short-term concerns will leave you no time or energy to prepare and innovate for the longer-term and no capacity to respond when the world changes around you. However you structure your commitment, make sure you’re not short-changing your future self by burning through all your reserves today.

Do you have ideas and projects bubbling away on the mental back burner?

Last updated: Jun 26, 2013

JESSICA STILLMAN is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist.
@EntryLevelRebel




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