Thursday, 17 April 2008

The Importance Of Switching Off

My train ride to London is about 50 minutes. Because of how I work, I always use that time for a lot of task-related stuff. Podcasts to listen to. Documents to draft. Cuttings to read. Notes to make. Meetings to prep for. Often, really focused tasks. Without (too much) distraction I get my head down and get on with stuff. It’s a packed 50 minutes.

But yesterday I changed my rules. I read a book on the train. Not a work book, a memoir I have been reading. I almost felt guilty not doing something work related but it was a complete breath of fresh air, agenda-less for the journey.

And it’s important because we all need space to breathe and in this BlackBerry culture, we rarely switch off. But if you don’t switch off, you most likely won’t have the space to get inspired.

On Monday evening I went to see members of the Cuban band, The Buena Vista Social Club in concert. It was a great night but it was also two hours to completely switch off. And when you switch off, your mind is freed up. So I walked out of that concert hall with a stack of ideas that quickly got scribbled in my Moleskine. Ideas that just came to me as I was lost in the music.

So if you are looking for inspiration or a solution to a problem, get out of the office, change your routine. Free up your mind by reading a book or going to some live music and then sit back and watch the ideas flow…

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