What is killing your creativity?

As a designer I always aspire to be creative. Well, that is this easier said than done… Right? This begs the question… But how do we define that something is creative? That is too big to tackle right now so I will save that for later.

I came across a recent article by Jessica Stillman on GigaOM entitled, Is work-a-holism killing your creativity? BTW, check out GigaOM if you haven’t. It is a network of writers who aspire to be a destination for connecting influential technology news and research with those like ourselves. It is worth a gander from time to time.

The article postulates that a designer’s creativity happens during their down time, but our problem is… we are always on. Or as Jessica calls it an “always-on mentality.” My morning routine usually goes like this: 1) walk the dog, 2) eat cereal, 3) shower, 4) coffee and drive to work… but what is on my brain? At times, this is the only time when my brain isn’t bogged down with the mundane cognitive load of the day. I would go as far as to say that, I do think this is an opportune to somewhat think creatively about my current projects. But what about having some down time during the day to let that creativity flow?

So much of the stuff I work on is “Just In Time” or as we call it JIT. Which means, there just isn’t any down time during the work day, so my 6am-8:30am slot is all I’ve got.

Do you have down time? If you do, does it help your creative flow?


About DaveHallmon

With experience in web, graphic, and instructional design, Dave maintains a balance between what is efficient and effective in every message. He always focuses on the why and how rather than "just doing it" to get the job done. By day he works at a leading university designing online courses that support 9,000 students in 64 countries. He works directly with faculty to brainstorm, design, and develop their online instruction utilizing the Adobe suite. He also teaches for the university as an adjunct faculty member in the area of web design. By night he is a devoted husband, father, freelancer, and adventurer of the outdoors. His other interests include LifeHacker, Science Fiction and Hayao Miyazaki movies, Settlers of Catan, and coffee with friends. He currently lives in St. Louis and has an M.S. in Instructional Design and aspires to pursue a professional degree in content marketing and strategy. Visit the links below for more information about his interests and design work.
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3 Responses to What is killing your creativity?

  1. I can totally relate to this! As a graphic artist I feel like I spend double the time thinking about a project than actually creating it. This is necessary for me and my creative process though, it makes me prepared to create the project to its full potential. I suppose it all plays into being a right brained person, and needing to visualize things. It definitely can drain you though! I’ve begun (when weather permits) grabbing a few co-workers and taking a short walk down to the local convenient store. Sometimes we grab a coffee or snack, but other times, we just need that walk to clear our minds! My office is in the basement, and those walls just aren’t the creative energy I need! Just getting out, seeing the sun and interacting with people can really help.

  2. DaveHallmon says:

    Having that additional process time is crucial and not something as an instructional designer I always get. Those few times that I do, the creativeness really flows. Yea, getting out of the office is nice. Our walls can prevent the energy we need here where I work too. Some of my co-workers take their lunch break walking at a nearby park. I may decide to comply with their next request to join.

    Thanks for being my first comment on my blog BTW.

  3. You bet! And yes, you should definitely take them up on that walk next time! 🙂

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