Habits to Spark Creative Genius

Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

Energy is the liveliness and force we need to sustain the creative process.

By Jeannine McGlade & Andrew Pek | Posted 8/1/10 | Updated 10/5/20

Often when I give a talk or a seminar, one or more participants come up to me afterward and say something like this: "Hey I loved your program, and creativity is important, but I don't have the time to be innovative or creative." Ever feel like that yourself? Let's face it, even when we are not busy completing tasks, attending meetings, responding to emails, taking out the garbage, walking the dog or taking care of the kids, creativity and thinking out of the box so-to-speak, falls by the wayside. It seems that we just don't have the time.

Well, when it comes to creativity, time, in our opinion, has nothing to do with it. And as a matter of fact, sometimes if you have too much time — then all you may be doing is forcing the creative process to come up with big, bold ideas and you won't necessarily succeed in your task. Instead of having more time to be creative, what we need is energy.

Energy, not time, is the liveliness and force we need to keep our neural networks of ideas firing-up properly and sustaining the creative process. Energy is the vigorous effort of our mind, body, and spirit combined that gives us the capacity to create. Without the proper amount and level of energy, it's really hard to feel stimulated and be in the right state of mind or feeling to attract sparks — those big "ah ha!" type moments.

The other day, our team got together after a long day of work and we decided to "brainstorm" new brand concepts and strategies for our company. Notta. Nothing. Zip. It just wasn't happening 'cause we were plum tired, distracted and not in the right frame of mind. In short, our vibe, and our energy, was humming at an oscillation rate slower than a turtle taking moves from one step to the next.

Even after a few shots of espresso, tea and ricotta cookies, we just didn't generate or come close to what we thought would be exciting, new ideas for our brand. Our energy was off, even though we dedicated the "time" to brainstorm. So we decided to abandon our brainstorming efforts and suspend our creative process for another day — the next day as a matter of fact.

We met mid-morning and in the span of 30 minutes — less time than the day before — we generated hundreds of possibilities, whittled them down to our favorites and began to prototype some of them immediately. What was the difference? Our energy. Even though we had less time, we were able to produce better and more quality ideas.

The trick to our success was that we were more prepared to catch a creative vibe or two. Before our brainstorm, we took a brisk walk, talked about the day, stayed present with the warmth of the sunshine, fresh air and surroundings. When we entered our meeting room we started our "brainstorm" with a quote to center our thoughts and energy. The results from one day to the next were amazingly different — better. So, the next time someone, or maybe even you, says, "I don't have the time to be creative," think again. Instead of time, consider your energy and figure out a way to help you stimulate your capacity to create.

©2010 Jeannine McGlade & Andrew Pek. All rights reserved.

Habits to Spark Your Creative Genius

Jeannine McGladeJeannine McGlade and Andrew Pek are authors, speakers, trainers, and thought leaders in making innovation and creativity a habit. more