Day 18 – Add Creative Hours to Your Week

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” -- Scott Adams

Your Outcome:  Add more Creative Hours to your week.  Let your ideas and imagination come out to play, while you uncork your creative genius and flex your creative mind.
Welcome to day 18 of 30 Days of Getting Results based on my book, Getting Results the Agile Way.   In day 17, we learned how to add Power Hours to your week.  Today, we learn how to add creative hours to our week.  With our creative hours, we can innovate or think of new ideas or work on our creative art.
Just like adding Power Hours, you might benefit from adding more Creative Hours to your week. Count how many Creative Hours you have during the week. If it’s not enough, schedule more and set yourself up so that they truly are Creative Hours. If you’re the creative type, this will be especially important. If you don’t think of yourself as very creative, then simply think of these as free hours to let your mind wander and explore or reflect.
Creative Hours are Your Free-Form Thinking
It’s those times when your mind feels free to explore ideas: creating new ideas from scratch, putting new ideas together, or simply reflecting.   Your Creative Hours are really a state of mind—a state of daydreaming. It’s the mindset that’s important. Whereas your Power Hours may be focused on results, your Creative Hours are focused on free-form thinking and exploration. You might find that Creative Hours are your perfect balance to Power Hours. You might also find that you thrive best when you add more Creative Hours to your week. Ultimately, you might find that your Power Hours free up time for your Creative Hours, or that yourCreative Hours change the game and improve your Power Hours. Your power hours might also be how you leverage your ideas from your Creative Hours. Test your results.
3 Common Patterns for Your Mind at Work
For simplicity’s sake, let’s start by calling out three common patterns or modes of thinking:
  1. Creative inspiration.  Your creative juices are flowing.  This is where your imagination runs wild and your ideas are free-flowing and you are full of creative inspiration.  You’re able to think out of the box and ideas seem to come to you.
  2. Thoughtful Task.  Your brain is engaged and this is where you have to think your way through your activity.  You are actively thinking and processing information and using your memory.
  3. Routine Activity.  Your brain does not have to be engaged.  It’s a  familiar or repetitive task that you can do without thinking.  You just know what to do and you can just do it, without much mental intervention.
You can use these patterns as a lens to help you better identify when you are in your most creative state.  Keep in mind that the nature of your work will influence your pattern.
3 Steps to Adding More Creative Hours to Your Week
Here are three ways to add more Creative Hours to your week:
  • Step 1. Protect the Creative Hours you already have. First identify the when you’re at your creative best throughout the week.   You might find that your best hours for creativity follow certain routines or occur at repeatable times.  For example, maybe your ride home from work puts you in a creative state.
  • Step 2. Create Space.   You might need to add space in your schedule to give yourself room for imagination and creativity.  For example, if you’re always rushing to make a deadline or always worried about what you have to do next, you might not be making enough space or downtime to experience your best creativity.  You might need to create space in terms of time or create space in terms of location.
  • Step 3.  Change up your routines.  You might need to change your routines to find patterns that help you get into your creative mode more easily.  For example, maybe by simply moving around some of your routines, you find that you suddenly experience more creative energy and your ideas flow on a more regular basis.
The key in all this is simply being more mindful of when you are at your creative best, and finding ways to experience more of your creative mindset by design instead of just lucking into it.  Experiment and test to find what works for you.
Experiment Between Morning Person and Night Owl
Some people find that they are more creative at night but are more productive during the day. Other people find they simply can’t be creative in certain situations or that they can’t be productive in others. Experiment between being a night owl and a morning person to see which patterns work best for you. You might even find that these patterns switch, depending on the season. For example, you might prefer to be a night owl in the winter and a morning person in the summer.
Today’s Assignment
  1. Identify your Creative Hours.
  2. Create more space for your Creative Hours.