The importance of downtime - Getting the creative juices flowing

The importance of downtime - Getting the creative juices flowing

8th Oct 2015

This week I’m off to Hawaii for a family holiday! I can’t wait, shopping, beaches, warm weather (jealous yet?!) but I’m also really looking forward to some downtime. It will be my first holiday in 3.5 years, there’s been the odd interstate trip for a long weekend, but not long enough to actually switch off. Running your own business poses additional challenges, in my case it’s the need to be physically present to pack and post orders. This time though I’ll be away for 10 days so I have someone taking care of that, and I plan on switching off.

There is plenty of evidence that shows quiet time, naps, meditation or just getting away from your desk can benefit you physically and mentally. It can lead to increased productivity, improve attention and help creativity. I know the minute I find myself without a screen or someone to talk to, I reach for my phone. Of course it’s under the guise of ‘its work’ but before I know it I’m checking facebook, instagram and reading stuff I don’t really care about just so…I’m not bored for 5 minutes? What’s wrong with being alone with your own thoughts for a couple of minutes and why is it so hard to do these days?

The creative side to running a business is one of the things I enjoy most. When I got started with O2wear I knew I would have to manage finances, stock levels, suppliers, customer relations, logistics and sales but creativity wasn’t a skill or attribute that jumped to mind when I thought of small business owner. Perhaps it isn’t talked about much but I have found the need for creativity to be fundamental to starting a business. I’m not talking just designing/creating graphics, that can be outsourced if it’s not your thing, but thinking creatively. That’s the part I relish and have never really had the opportunity to do in a regular job. Without a doubt my moments of ‘inspiration’ come when I’m daydreaming. I rarely find the answer to my problem staring at my phone (despite my best efforts), but when I give myself some downtime to think and reflect, these are the moments thoughts crystallize and ideas take shape.

Of course you don’t have to take an overseas holiday to get downtime, you can factor a bit of downtime in to each day to get the creative juices flowing.

Here are 5 ways I try to combine a little downtime, or at least technology-free time in to my day:

  1. Turn your phone notifications off so you only see new emails or notifications when you actively chose to, rather than responding to every vibration.
  2. Find yourself at a café waiting for someone to arrive or order, sit and watch the world go by rather than absorbing yourself in your phone.
  3. Go for a walk. On your own, listen to some music, or with a friend.
  4. Catch a bus or go for a drive, stare out the window and let your mind flow.
  5. Do something you wouldn’t normally do – we are creatures of habit, seeing, doing and experiencing different things can give you a new perspective.

Got any other ideas?

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