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When do you get your most creative ideas for your business? I suspect it’s not during your normal busy workday or in the middle of a client meeting. Most likely, it’s when you are alone, relaxed, and allow your mind to wander.
How many amazing ideas or aha moments have you had while taking a shower? Without distractions and to-do lists, creative ideas flow when mindlessly showering. Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, author of Wired to Create, found that 72 percent of us get our best ideas in the shower.
As an entrepreneur, I want to keep generating ideas, improvements and creative innovations. I found that my days were filled with meetings, problem-solving, and doing day-to-day tasks. In spite of my best intentions to fit in creative time, it never seemed to materialize. My best creative ideas came to me in the morning while taking a shower, but were quickly forgotten as I sat down at my desk for the first meeting.
In my frustration with elusive creative time, I chuckled thinking that I simply needed to take a shower for the entire workday. In spite of that sounding ridiculous, I figured out how to give myself the space and time I needed to focus on the business, and not just run the business. And that’s how my Creative Wednesdays emerged.
But I’m too busy…
My first thought was that since I could barely keep up with my packed meeting schedule, how in the world could I cram five business days into four days? Surely, I would miss deadlines, or miss new client opportunities, or let down my direct reports. It just didn’t seem feasible. I barely had time between meetings to get a drink of water so how could I possibly remove a workday from my schedule?
What gets scheduled, gets done. I schedule everything on my calendar to make sure I don’t allow my highest priorities to be overcome by interruptions. I even schedule time with my family, exercise on my Peloton bike, lunch with friends and so on. What I realized was that I hadn’t scheduled time for my own needs, which included fostering my entrepreneurial gifts.
I realized that creativity precedes innovation. To continually innovate and grow my business, I need to allow time to create new ideas, processes and directions. Doing the same thing over and over again will inevitably produce the same results. I owe it to my employees and clients to prioritize creative time so that innovation will follow.
With this conviction, I asked my executive assistant to rearrange my calendar to free up Wednesdays, and, the following week, I had my first Creative Wednesday on my calendar. Much to my initial surprise, all of my responsibilities condensed into four days without missing any deadlines or obligations.
Fresh ideas and improved focus
Once I had the recurring Creative Day scheduled on my calendar, my mind started spinning with ideas of how I would spend my day, and I found that my enthusiasm helped me be more efficient leading up to that day.
As an entrepreneur, my mind is always creating new ideas, and I feel more relaxed knowing that I have a day to spend doing what I do best. Throughout the week, as ideas come to my mind, instead of allowing the idea to compete with the responsibilities I had for that day, I jot it down. Then, on Creative Wednesday, I spend part of the day giving that idea the time it deserves to grow.
One of the best parts of my creative day is that I am able to be entirely present in the moment, and have found that throughout the week, my meetings are more purposeful. Knowing that I have a day to give my ideas the time they need to develop, I’m no longer trying to juggle competing thoughts.
Sometimes, I will collaborate with some of my leaders during my creative day, and we develop new innovative processes or ways to better systematize our business challenges.
As a family man, my creative day makes room for my wife and kids. Occasionally, I will take my sons out for a surprise lunch, or schedule a family outing. Having a happy home makes for better workdays.
My creative days allow me to make new business connections and enhance current relationships. I enjoy scheduling virtual coffees with my connections to hear about what’s working in their business, incubate ideas and generally encourage one another.
So, as an entrepreneur, why not afford yourself the luxury of an eight-hour shower each week? Consider fostering the creative serial entrepreneur within as an investment into the future growth of yourself and your business.