Escape, image by Shorsh

How “wasting some time” can boost creativity

Confession: Sometimes I procrastinate. It often occurs before I dive into any big project—I tend to lose myself doing other stuff, maybe doodling around, or simply doing nothing at all, reflecting. So, deadlines loom, yet I inexplicably find myself drawn to random materials, scrolling, collecting some of them, and even succumbing to distraction from time to time (don’t judge, we’ve all been there). But here’s the crazy thing: in the midst of this glorious “wasted time,” creativity strikes. A half-formed idea blossoms, a great solution appears, and suddenly, I can get to work and that looming deadline doesn’t seem so scary anymore. This led me to consider that in same given situations wasting some time can boost creativity.

In fact, turns out I’m not alone. This phenomenon, aptly named the Creative Procrastination Paradox, suggests that daydreaming, mind-wandering, and even boredom can actually be fertile ground for innovation. Studies have shown that when our minds roam free, they make unexpected connections, stumble upon hidden solutions, and spark imaginative leaps that wouldn’t happen if we were laser-focused on the task at hand.

Now, I’m not advocating for abandoning all deadlines and embracing perpetual daydreaming (though it might sound tempting). But there’s a strategic way to harness the power of this paradox. Let’s take a look at some tips that I’ve found useful to make the most out of it:

Embrace daydreaming: don’t demonize those moments of mind-wandering. Instead, acknowledge them, observe them, and even encourage them as they could trigger or fuel your creativity. Take a short walk, doodle aimlessly, or simply stare out the window. Give your mind the freedom to explore without judgment.

Capture the sparks: keep a creativity journal or sketchbook handy. When an idea flashes in your mind’s eye, jot it down, even if it seems nonsensical. These seemingly random thoughts can later become valuable building blocks for your creations.

Schedule your procrastination: believe it or not, you can actually schedule “daydreaming sessions” into your workflow. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes and let your mind wander freely. You’ll discover that wasting some time can boost creativity and you might even be surprised at what insights emerge.

Experiment with constraints: sometimes, setting limitations can actually spark creativity. Challenge yourself to create a piece using only found objects, or try working within a specific color palette. These constraints can force your mind to think outside the box and lead to unexpected breakthroughs.

Remember, creativity is a nonlinear process. Don’t be afraid to embrace the unexpected detours and seemingly unproductive moments. After all, who knows what groundbreaking art might be hiding behind that next doggy video?

Have you ever had a breakthrough idea come to you while “wasting time”? What are your tips for harnessing the power of daydreaming? Let’s start by acknowledging those moments to unlock the hidden potential within our procrastination!

P.S. Don’t forget to share this post with your fellow art enthusiasts who might need a little reminder that sometimes, the best way to be productive is to just let your mind go wild.






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