For five days I’m writing about constraints that serve as kindling for Creation. Yesterday I wrote Keep Your Perfect Idea.
Highly Creative people work to the ebb and flow of mental energy, not according to a preset to-do list.
James D. Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, did not even schedule weekend work breaks. He says,
A fixed mental sabbath from experiments does not jibe with the reality of the human brain. It rests effectively only when it does not want to work and is satisfied with what it has done. With few exceptions, the time frame of experiments cannot be predicted, and mental hibernation should not be preassigned to a regular day on the calendar. An unanswered experimental question is bound to remain in your subconscious. Work done on weekends, in fact, can be more fun than that done on weekdays. You would not be there unless your experiments were going well.
Creation requires obsession and obsession requires a focus to work unfocused on a problem. Creative insight is mental state-specific and ties up focus to exclude even of the sensual world. Jonah Lehrer, author of Proust was a Neuroscientist, says,
At first the brain lavishes the scarce resource of attention on a single problem. But once the brain is sufficiently focused, the cortex needs to relax in order to seek out the more remote association in the right hemisphere, which will provide the insight.
Engaging both hemispheres for Creation requires a longer mental now rather than moments chopped into efficient morsels. The efficiency of quotidian business curbs Creativity. A calendar bursting with pre-scheduled tasks works against the biology of Creation because business dilutes attention. You cannot obsess about two things, let alone a mess of to-do items to be crossed off every afternoon.
Neuroscientist Mark Jung-Beeman says, The relaxation phase is crucial. That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers.
Making Creative work a priority over pre-scheduled business frees you up to work with your mental energy, rather than against it.