We all know people who seem to be an endless source of new ideas. People who never seem to fall short when it comes to creativity. I imagine most of us have felt at least a small twinge of jealousy when faced with such individuals, too.
After all, how can we compete with people who are so superhuman?
Because they aren’t. Not really. Those men and women who seem like they’ve always got a lightbulb in their head have simply mastered what may well be the most important skill of all.
They’ve learned that when you’re faced with a creative block, repeatedly bashing your head against the wall is not the way to overcome it. Instead, they step back, refocus, and recharge. They take a bit of time off and use that downtime to approach the issue from a new perspective.
It almost seems counterintuitive. After all, we’ve built a society where one of the core measures of success is busyness. The more work you have, the more stuff you’ve got on your plate, the more things you get done, the more successful you are.
That’s a toxic mindset and something most leaders, creative and otherwise, understand.
It’s no sense getting a ton of stuff done if you don’t do it to the best of your ability. There’s no point being busy if you aren’t fulfilled by your work. And there’s no value in an endless list of tasks if none of them achieve anything meaningful in the long term.
Don’t just take my word for this, though. Look at the world’s top performers and leaders. People like Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Beyonce, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey.
What do they all have in common?
“Despite having way more responsibility than anyone else, top performers in the business world often find time to step away from their urgent work, slow down, and invest in activities that have a long-term payoff in greater knowledge, creativity, and energy,” writes best-selling author and entrepreneur Michael Simmons. “As a result, they may achieve less in a day at first, but drastically more over the course of their lives … In a world where everyone is speeding up and cramming their schedule to get ahead, the modern knowledge worker should do the opposite: slow down, work less, learn more, and think long-term.”
In short, you can achieve more by working less, especially if you’re employed in a field like marketing, music, or graphic design.
So, the next time you’re feeling creative brain drain, get up and get away from your desk. Talk with friends and colleagues about your work. Immerse yourself in a hobby you enjoy, or go exercise. Take a nap. Write in a journal. Teach yourself something new.
Rest, recharge, and refocus. You might be surprised at how much more you get done.