Sometimes our brains need a rest in this crazy-paced world, and creativity needs a little downtime to percolate ideas that are just under the surface.
Farming has a concept that lends itself to creativity. Fields are left fallow for a season, which means they are ploughed but left unplanted to rejuvenate. Fallow is characterised by inactivity.
I have just had a fallow month because I had just about burnt out by the end of 2009. I spent 3 weeks in Europe and:
- Checked email twice in 3 weeks and hardly responded to anyone
- Didn’t carry a mobile phone
- Didn’t check or update Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn for weeks
- Didn’t read any blogs
- Scheduled my blog posts so I didn’t need to get online at all
- Did not have access to the internet, or seek it out for 3 weeks
- I read lots of fiction in between sightseeing around London, Venice and Rome with my husband and spent Christmas with my Dad near Oxford. A Northern Hemisphere winter holiday!
Yes, this is coming from someone who just said everyone should embrace technology!
But there is a need for balance.
We all need time for periods of achievement, hard work and creative acceleration as well as time to relax, day dream and let the masses of information in our brains come up with new ideas. I feel like I am ready to get going and achieve my goals for the year ahead after the break. I needed some time off to gather the energy to start on these again after a mammoth 2009.
Have you had time to let your mind lie fallow? Have you had a break? Are you full of energy and ready to achieve in 2010? (or do you need to set aside some time to have a break now?)
This marvelous TED video shows designer Stefan Sagmeister talking about taking sabbaticals every 7 years. He describes how the ideas he generates in that year directly provide him with the creativity he needs for his business. It has a direct financial correlation. Of course, not all of us can drop everything and take a sabbatical year, but how about a few weeks?