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Get the Creative Time You Need: 3 Simple Tips

Time to create

We All Need Creativity Time

We all need creativity time. Everyone needs time to think about their personal life vision and time to create the daily and weekly plans that will bring that vision into being. People in business need to: think of creative solutions to client problems, strategize creative ways to build business, and dream up the next generation of products and services. Parents need to create routines for the home and their children. And creative people need time for writing, painting, coding, designing and so on.

The Problem

Life is so full, that creativity time gets squeezed out. And our propensity for procrastination doesn’t help. We contribute to squeezing out our creativity time by fettering it away on lower priority tasks first. Why? Because in many ways they are easier to do. Creativity takes a lot of energy and mental gymnastics. So what’s the solution? It’s right there in front of you. And it’s been there all along. Here’s where to find the time and places to make it happen.

Where to Grab Creativity Time

1. Mindless Tasks.

All the things that you need to do on a daily and weekly basis that don’t require thinking are potential opportunities for creativity time. Here are some examples:

  • Exercise time
  • Laundry – folding, hanging up, etc.
  • Driving
  • Commuting
  • Putting kids to sleep – (if you lay down with your kids while they go to sleep)
  • Waiting in Line

Now it’s not ideal creativity time because you won’t always be able to record your thoughts and ideas right away. That’s ok. This will force you to keep it simple. Use that fact to focus on just one idea during any of these opportunities. All creativity requires a certain amount of brainstorming before you can start writing down your ideas or making sketches or laying out plans. In fact, sometimes the act of writing down ideas can halt a certain amount of creativity. So use these small times to brainstorm a bit. After the brainstorming is done, as soon as you are able, write down your ideas or use Jott to send a voice message to yourself which will be converted into text and emailed to you.

2. Air Travel

This is a great place to hunker down to pure creativity time.

  1. If there is a TV , leave it off!
  2. Leave your computer turned off, too.
  3. Put on a set of headphones to give other passengers notice that you’re busy. (Noise canceling head phones are one of the best things you can buy for yourself if you travel frequently at all. Even if you don’t they are great whenever you need to drown out noise.)
  4. Start by closing your eyes and brainstorming first.
  5. Get out a pad of paper and a pen or pencil.
  6. Create!
  7. If you need to, make a pact with yourself to “treat” yourself to leisure items (music, reading, TV) once you’ve completed a preset amount of creative work.

3. Closed Spaces
This one is a little different than the first two in that you need to create the time for this one. It also may strike you as a little strange, but therein lies it’s power. The idea is to confine yourself to a small space where you won’t be interrupted by any distractions. Some ideas are:

  • Sitting in your Car – Anywhere you can park your car is fine. In your garage, on the street, or in a parking lot. Does your spouse ever ask you to go shopping, but you don’t enjoy it? Well how about coming along for the ride and once at the store, you remain in the car for some distraction free creativity time! This is one of my favorites. My mom loves to shop. I don’t, or at least I can’t afford it. She goes shopping and I wait in the car and do some writing. Being in a different place helps me to think more creatively.
  • A large closet with a light or (smallest room in your house) – obviously, make sure you can’t get locked in and that there is enough air to breathe. 🙂 Small spaces are good because there is not enough room to have distractions.
  • The bathroom – sitting on the “throne” with the lid closed, sitting in the tub with or without water in it.
  • A dresssing room – I haven’t tried this one, but I bet it could work. If you have a friend who needs to go clothes shopping, but you don’t need anything, you could wait for him/her in the dressing room and do some creative work until they come in. If you feel strange going into one of the the dressing rooms you could just wait on the bench or the floor by the dressing room attendant. This one isn’t for everyone, but it could work for some.
  • Nook in library or bookstore – ah, peace and quiet. I don’t know about you, but I get very inspired creatively when I’m in either of these places. Find a small quiet corner away from distractions and let the creativity flow.
  • Tent. Do your kids have a tent? If not, consider setting one up. All you need is a blanket and some kind of furniture to place it over. Go inside. Where are you? Pretend you are somewhere other than your living room or back yard. Let this fictitious location inspire you to find new ways of thinking about your project.
  • What are your ideas?

Please Share!

What are your most unusual and useful hacks for finding creativity time? All comments big and small are very welcomed!


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18 Responses to Get the Creative Time You Need: 3 Simple Tips

  1. Chris August 7, 2007 at 10:00 pm #

    I really appreciate this post. You don’t understand my frustrations with my creativity blocks I get. I get distracted easily, like I need to ALWAYS be multitasking. I find myself doing 5 different things and moving 4 different times before I find a spot i can concentrate. To to share my advice….is to sit next to flowing water like a creek or river. It helps me relax a LOT. Even when I’m at the ocean even. Just nature in general i guess helps me. BTw…I am, too, a Jotter…and I use jott to help me remember my guitar ideas when I’m not at my guitar! Pretty amazing because i forget my ideas when I get home and THAT makes me angry. Thanks again for the post!

  2. Brandon August 8, 2007 at 2:36 am #

    what a great blog, I’m just glad I found it.

    I’m really impressed with the games to sharpen the brain.

  3. Urbanist August 8, 2007 at 8:24 am #

    A tent! Now that one I never would have thought of … great tips as always 🙂

  4. Jeremy Hobbs August 8, 2007 at 3:35 pm #

    So so true. I have almost everything I write completely ‘mapped’ out in my head before my finger ever touches a keyboard. Going for a walk is the best thing for me to do to come up with ideas and bust the writer’s block.

  5. Laura August 13, 2007 at 10:00 pm #

    I definitely agree with this post. I know firsthand that a change of scenery can make a difference. I myself have tried sitting in the car to work for a change of location. It’s also a change of location to go to a place like StarBucks that has a wireless Internet connection and sit in those big armchairs.

  6. agentsully August 13, 2007 at 11:21 pm #

    @Chris – so glad this was helpful!

    @Brandon – thanks!

    @Urbanist – have you had any tent stories on your blog? Could be interesting…”Urban Camping” 🙂

    @Jeremy – I wish I followed my own advice more consistently. When ever I write my outline/rought draft first by hand, it always flows faster.

    @Laura – that’s a good one…an armchair in Starbucks would definitely qualify as a “small confined place!” Thanks!

  7. Laura Bergells September 5, 2007 at 1:18 pm #

    Great post. I love your idea of using Jott for ideas. The next time I wake up in the middle of the night with what seems like an elusive “great idea” — I’ll be sure to Jott it instead of write it in my notepad.

    At the very least, it might prove amusing!

  8. agentsully September 6, 2007 at 11:26 am #

    @Laura Bergells – that’s funny. I never thought to use it in the middle of the night for ideas, but that is definitely a great idea!! Thanks!

  9. James Michael Jandayan April 1, 2008 at 10:10 am #

    Very well articulated. Great Advance. Thanks for this.

  10. Stephanie Daniels April 1, 2008 at 10:16 am #

    Creative time is very important. Very interesting informaion.

  11. canadian flower delivery July 24, 2008 at 10:59 am #

    The thing is that living nowadays doesn’t allow us to have such time, like the one dedicated to creativity. It’s goo to know how to create time for this and thank you for you piece of advice.

  12. agentsully July 28, 2008 at 3:02 pm #

    @Canadian Flower – thanks. Hope the article was helpful!

  13. Essay Writing October 21, 2008 at 3:03 am #

    It’s when I’m commuting that my overactive imagination kicks over. I just stare into space, let my mind wander, and almost always, I unearth a topic for my next article at work… I think it’s a matter of getting your mind to relax so your creative thoughts will also flow smoothly.

    I’ll be trying the other “mindless tasks” you mentioned. and of course, that tent!
    Thanks for this. 🙂

  14. Guitar September 13, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    Hey there, thanks for the help. I will try this out.

  15. Mike Palmer April 25, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    As a driving instructor I am horrified to see that whilst “driving”, is suggested as a good time to be creative. Frankly, this is how accidents happen – when people are in another world; daydreaming instead of concentrating on what is in front of them. The state of the roads these days is such that ANYTHING other than your full concentration on all that is taking place in front and around you is asking for trouble. To suggest otherwise is irresponsible.

    • AgentSully August 14, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

      Mike – I agree that the number one thing to do while driving is pay attention to your driving. I think my idea is that most people have the radio on and don’t realize that they can do some creative thinking if they turn off the radio and put the cell phone down. We all think while we drive and if it is a route that is regular for you, you can probably safely think of ideas while you drive.


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