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THE WAY I WORK

4 Tips to Unplug and Promote Creativity

Most business managers thrive on information, but this overload can thwart the energy you need to build your business. Here's how to get it back.
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If you are like most entrepreneurs, you love information. Let's face it: You're reading this article, right? I am no exception. I love to read and be up to speed on current events and trends. For a number of reasons that I will not delve into here, I didn't appreciate the joys of reading until late in life. Following the epiphany, I spent much of my spare time trying to recover those lost years by reading anything I could get my hands on. These days, however, like most entrepreneurs (and especially father entrepreneurs), I rarely have time to indulge in a book or magazine.

Introducing: podcasts, which are a great and easy way to consume media digitally. I can now listen to everything from news and politics to fantastic storytelling and science lessons, all while engaging in activities that aren't necessarily productive, such as exercising or driving. The quality and content of podcasts have improved so much as to make them as entertaining as any television show. The potential is limited only to how much content I can fit onto my digital media player.

Over time, I discovered that all of this consumption has its drawbacks. Spending all my free time listening instead of creating fundamentally changed the way my brain operated, and I found that it was increasingly more difficult to think creatively when I needed to. It was time to unplug and find balance. If you are an information junkie like me, here are a few tips to find a proper balance.

1. Schedule creative time.

Devote a specific time of the day to consume content and another to engage in exercises that promote creativity. Be sure to stick to this schedule, and do not use this creative time to squeeze in exceptions.  

2. Take a walk.

Get away from the distractions of your desk, phone, and office, and go for a brisk 20-minute walk. For starters, exercise is just plain good for you, but it will also give you time alone to reflect on your thoughts and resolve business issues. Be sure to leave the phone behind, because you don’t want your  "aha" moment interrupted by a call.

3. Meditate.  

This doesn't require yoga pants. Instead, simply take 15 minutes of your day, every day, to sit in complete silence, removed from your phone and other distractions. Just as your body needs recovery time from vigorous exercise, so does your brain from a vigorous day. Like all exercises, it will take time and practice to tune out the activity (and voices) in your head, but the result is worth it.

4. Covet thy sleep. 

It is no secret that rest is a critical component of creativity. If you read emails and check news while you lie in bed or leave your phone on your nightstand, your sleep will suffer. Instead, leave all electronics (just buy a cheap alarm clock) outside the bedroom. If you are accustomed to having moments of epiphany while you sleep, leave a notepad and pen by your bed to record them. Then go back to sleep.

More than likely, I will always be addicted to my podcasts. These days, however, I make time to engage in activities that encourage and promote creativity. These are just a few tips that have helped me to "unplug" and balance my creativity.

This article brought to you by a long walk.

Do you have unique ways to fire your creativity? Please take a minute share with others below.  

Last updated: Jun 13, 2014

PETER GASCA | Co-founder of WildCreations.com

Peter Gasca is the co-founder of Wild Creations, an Inc 5000 company that focuses on kid-related products and supports kid entrepreneurs. He is also a small-business consultant, youth entrepreneur mentor, and business adjunct lecturer.




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