NORMAN — All you Type A personalities, please, don’t let the title twist your underoos into a freaked out wad. Just hear us out. Believe it or not, so much more can be accomplished is we are not driven to work 24/7.
Mind you, we do not advocate super gluing your hindquarters to the recliner and doing nothing. But it is necessary to come to a complete, lurching stop. When we operate at full speed with hardly a moment to think outside the box, creativity suffers.
According to Albert Einstein, “Creativity is the residue of time wasted.” During those down-time moments, inspiration finds fertile soil in corners of our minds, take root and blossom into good, great or brilliant ideas. As a result, you tackle those pain-in-the-rutabaga tasks working smarter instead of harder.
For better or for worse, the Warped Fate of Great Ideas likes to remind us that nothing worth having comes easy. The most productive downtime occurs just as we are about to fall asleep or during the awakening process.
Is there a downside of those brilliant idea moments? Yes. We think we will remember them in the morning, but we won’t. Or, the ghost of a great idea will haunt us upon awakening, but the essence is lost forever. Still, there are things we can do to preserve that “great idea” before it splinters into the ether of forgotten and permanently lost brilliance.
Some people keep a notepad and pen on their nightstand and train themselves to wake up and make blind notes in the dark. Good luck deciphering said notes in the light of day. Some keep a recorder nearby and speak their thoughts before they evaporate in the darkness. While others force themselves to get up and either write down or type those elusive thoughts out on the computer. Writers and inventors find these methods invaluable.
Those who never realized how many great ideas pop up during the witching hours will find reading through such notes enlightening. “That was in my head?”
If you happen to be the-mind-never-shuts-down kind of person, that can be a problem. You may be exhausted and anxious to crawl in bed and leave the world behind for a few precious hours, but that pesky mind of yours just keeps on churning. Such mental turbulence often, but not always, blocks out creative thought because you are working hard to fall asleep.
One solution is drinking a nice glass of wine or a hot cup of calamine tea to relax. Oops! I meant chamomile tea. It’s an honest mistake. They sound alike, sort of. Besides, this was merely a test to see if you are paying attention.
No matter how you arrive at those brilliant epiphanies, use them to make your life easier.
For example, my handwriting is ghastly and I try to avoid writing anything beyond my signature. This deeply embedded flaw is courtesy of my elementary school teachers, who were strict and also happened to be nuns.
It did not take long for my puckishly inventive mind to discover that the aforementioned nuns did not have a sense of humor. At least nothing any of us in class ever noticed. The consequences for deviating from the norm were weekends spent writing.
“I will not (insert the offense du jour) in class.” 3000 times! Those ladies sure had a thing about 3000. After such intensive weekends, our weekly penmanship exercises could not salvage my handwriting. The whole process was a bit counterproductive, don’t you think?
To avoid foisting my terrible writing on the world, one of my light bulb moments led me to Clear Address Labels. Whatever has to be handwritten on a document can be typed thereon and stuck on a document. It is legal, and it is legible!
For those who don’t care for my solution, take it up with the nuns.
Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website www.elizabethcowan.com.