One of my favourite things to do over the holiday season is to turn everything off. No emails, phones, social media – nothing for a few days. It’s THE easiest time of the year to ‘detox’ from all work related things. And then… after a few days of lolling about in the sun (I live down under so Xmas in the summer) and I’m totally ready to plug into my creative brain. And then … the MAGIC happens.
I always remind my self of just how powerful down-time can be when my creative juices are seriously inspired by taking a break from everything. In fact, last week I ‘ran away’ for a few personal reasons, to the tranquility of the beaches in the extraordinary Cook Islands. For those of you not familiar with the place, it’s a little north of Fiji, and south of Hawaii… the middle of the South Pacific and OMG – so beautiful… anyway I digress. The point is, that the calm waters, absence of friends and distractions, not to mention the delicious sunsets I was able to meditate on every day for a week was enough that now I’m fully firing all of my creative sparks and ready to start my next novel.
The magic happens when we unplug for a while. Last week I also started reading Ariana Huffington’s book ‘Thrive’. An excellent reminder of just what happens when we do things like rest, pay attention to our sleep habits, take naps, meditate, and focus on nurturing our selves properly. My highest recommendation for something incredibly good to sink into over the New Year by the way…
While slowing down to speed up may seem counter-intuitive, it really does work. Magic really does happen for us creative types when we take our eye off the deadlines, necessary work commitments and turn our phones and computers off for a few days. Even a few hours is worth doing – and just sitting and focusing on … NOTHING!
Whether you meditate or not – and this is not a blog about doing that – finding thinking time clear from distractions is the single most important gift you can give to yourself. As a writer, I know that clearing the decks is the only way to ensure I get to tap into the best way to move forward on anything I’m writing. So I do usually try to do this, but making a regular habit of it, is never easy.
There are some important steps to take to do this:
- Commit to a time or day and/or day per week when you just turn everything off and focus on … nothing.
- Consider when you are at your best in terms of the time of day when you can write, create, do and honor those times. But just before then, try to get some thinking or meditation time happening. You will be more productive – I promise!
- Schedule non-breakable ‘me’ time. Whether this is weekly, monthly, annually, daily – just create what works for you – the combination of options – and COMMIT to that.
- Keep an ‘inspiration’ journal or folder, so that if you ever do get stuck on your ‘focus on nothing’ time, you can gather some extra inspiration from there. Fill it with ideas, dreams, quotes, ideas… don’t just stick it in your bottom drawer – refer to it often as needed.
- Consider what rituals might support you in your quest for time out. Lighting a candle, taking a bath, mieditaing at sunset or sunrise, walking on a beach, spring cleaning… what ever it takes, work that out and work with that!
When you feed your creative spirit with stress free time, your creativity goes up, your productivity goes up, and your income and satisfaction, not to mention your happiness levels all go up too.
So – what do you have to lose?