Creative insights come as a result of a delicate balance of focus.
Your brain must be focused enough on the task at hand to make progress, but also have enough space from the work in order for new connections and valuable insights to occur. Fortunately we know exactly what affects our ability to focus while still having creative insights occur.
Our level of energy, our motivation, our natural curiosity around the work, our resourcefulness, all impact and drive our creative balance.
Finding that balance is what separates the creative greats from the average Joe down the block.
While the amateur creative struggles to find a balance between overwhelming exhaustion and unproductive drive, the professional simply works hard enough over years to know exactly where his or her balancing is at best.
The professional knows when they need a full night of sleep versus when they can risk an all-nighter to produce their creative work. The amateur has to take a gamble and learn from the experience.
Unfortunately the balance that creativity requires is unique for every one of us. It’s not something you can read about online or in a book and instantly understand. Nobody can tell you when you need more energy or when you need to rough it out. You can’t be told when you need to be more resourceful or when you need bigger or better tools.
The good news is that it’s fairly easy to find your own balance by doing creative work, experimenting, and being mindful of what drives you and what makes you feel unbalanced.
If you haven’t been paying attention to when you’re at your best or when you’re at your worst, today is a good time to start.
If you have an iPhone, here’s one way to do just that.
Photo by Heiko Brinkmann.