If you have few minutes to wait for the bus, what is your routine — do you check your Instagram one more time or do you spend it brainstorming on your creative project? No matter how many people may answer the latter, we know the former’s far more likely. Which does make sense — humans don’t do well at focusing on a daunting project when a clock is ticking. They get nervous, frustrated almost immediately, and they think, “I can’t really do anything important in just a few minutes.”
And it is true that to really move forward creatively you do need some sustained time where you can turn off the phone, unplug the internet and focus your mind. You can’t create something by only relying on five-minute snippets. But that doesn’t mean they’re not important. In fact, by using those spare minutes to skip Facebook and think about your project, you are giving your creative side a powerful tool.
As we’ve said before, things like going for a walk or being tired may be able to help us with art projects because our brain’s filter is lower. We are not concentrating as efficiently, which means that a lot of abstract thoughts are popping in and helping us make more creative connections. These kinds of tips are usually aimed at people looking for a boost when they are directly working on their project — but what about all those other times in the day when you have a million other ideas running through your brain?
Sparing even a few minutes every hour or two to reinsert the idea of your project into your head will allow you to make connections that probably would’ve never come when sitting at home and wracking your brain for ways to get over creative barriers. Instead you’ll be distracted by your co-workers or the noises on the street, or a couple arguing about something or the way a building looks with the sun reflecting off it.
All of this is potential creative fuel, and if your project keeps dipping into your conscious, then there is an even greater chance of making connections you never would before.
So every day set a creativity alarm clock. Have a phone reminder beep every hour or two to jog your memory back to your project. Take even just sixty seconds to think about the project and then go back to your life By the end of the day you may have only dedicated five or ten extra minutes, but they will be minutes spent in new creative environments.
And those minutes, they add up quick.