Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Creativity, Space and Time

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you allDucks swimming on Lake Wakatipu
Okay, okay, okay, okay!

We have a lot of things happening in our lives today. We are expected to multi-task to cope with all that comes at us from every direction at work: emails that we’ve to respond to dropping in at a pace per minute, phone calls interrupting our daily routine, txt messages arriving on our mobiles with an incessant beep, new-post announcements hitting the RSS Reader at a digital rap, never mind the twitter and tweets.

And then there’s life itself.

When ever do we have time to think?

I was wondering about all his while listening to John Cleese on creativity. He spoke of boundaries of space and time.

He said it like this:

"Boundaries of space."

"Boundaries of time."

And I thought, “Yeah, right!”

The biggest barrier is getting the space to build the boundaries and the time to plan the building. And it goes on and on and on. And we’re told that knowledge will be doubling every three days by 2020. How to keep pace with it all and still have time to think - that’s the question.

Cleese mentioned that a lot happens when we’re asleep. Well thank goodness, I say. There’s not much time to catch up with it all while we’re awake.

Or is there?

Late last week I was asked to give a talk at work on cybersafety. I’d no time to sort out what I’d to do over the weekend. Monday was a shambles. I’d barely enough time to look out the PowerPoint on the topic that I’d put together, in a rush, at the end of last year.

And there I was, Tuesday morning, sitting on the 7-o-clock bus heading into work wondering what the heck I was going to say at the 9-o-clock session, and what did I have to check before I started, and did I get the version right when I copied the .pp file to my memory stick the previous evening, and what would I do if there’s no sound system for the vids, and could I remember what the vids were about anyway?

Thing is, there’s little to do on a 30 minute bus ride at that time of the morning. The bus was less than half empty. Traffic was light. There was the space. And there was enough time to reflect on my talk and mind-scan over notes I’d downloaded from the server the night before.

It was a very satisfying morning session to facilitate. Well attended, with just the right number of active participants to keep the discussion firing on relevant issues. All in all, a session that I should not really have worried about - at all.

So how did that all come together when it all seemed to be coming at me with so much of a rush?

Boundaries of space.

Boundaries of time.

Those precious minutes on the bus. With no other thing to do but think.

It is a facility that I often put to use - the bus. I travel to and from work with an average time to spend of about 50 minutes every day doing absolutely nothing – about a twentieth of my waking hours. I seldom read on the bus for I get travelsick. So I use it to think.

Space and time to keep me in the pink. No phone ringing. No mobile beeping - I can switch it off when I need the space. No emails to read and reply to – I don’t carry a lap-top. So no RSS Reader to chase. Nothing.

Boundaries of space.

Boundaries of time.

How do you find the space and time to do your thinking in a day?
Rangimarie - Peace and Harmony


V Yonkers said...

For me, 6:00 Saturday or Sunday morning are the best times as I can't get out of the the habit of waking up the same time each day, but obviously my family can.

I like being able to just sit with a cup of coffee and thinking in silence. The other time is during my daughter's soccer game. The parents of her team are not very friendly, so I can check out mentally (everyone else thinks I'm watching the game) without anyone the wiser.

Paul C said...

On my way to important meetings I switch off the radio in the car. I find that personal peace in the car for 45 minutes helps me to sort through my thoughts and emotions for the day. This seems in contrast to the iPod phenomenon where some have music playing round the clock.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēnā kōrua Virginia and Paul!

It's evident that we three find the time and space that best suits us to let the thinking vibes flow in the mind. We obviously recognise the need for this too.

Virginia- I concur with you about the quality of that time of the morning, especially at the weekend.

There's a solitude I find at that time that's not there in the late evening. It is definitely the time for my problem solving.

Paul- It's odd you should mention music. I find music great to relax to, but intrusive if I have any thinking to do. Same at work - I cannot concentrate if I hear music. I drift into the theme of the melody and lose the plot with what I'm supposed to be doing.

I can drive easily when I'm listening to music. But like you, if I want to think about other things I have to switch off the music.

Catchya later

Ken Stewart said...

Ken, awesome thoughts! Protecting my time and space is a constant struggle. I spend most of my day giving it away, and quite honestly have been trying to retool the way in which I view these transactions. It is hard, but I am seeing marginal progress ;-)

Again, thank you for the great thoughts.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Ken

I always have to remind myself of the need I have for boundaries of space and time.

The picture at the top of this blog was taken when I attended a full-on conference last year in Queenstown. We had 15 minutes break for coffee between two morning sessions and I walked out the front door of the hotel to see the STOP sign painted on the road. That's exactly what I did. When I raised my eyes I saw the ducklings swimming around on a fantastic lake in an glorious setting.

I didn't have a coffee in fact. The 15 minutes I spent gazing at that scenery set me up for the rest of the day and I didn't need the coffee.

Catchya later

Clark said...

Ken, my thinking times are exercising, showers, and like Paul, in the car. Find I can't even listen to music, or it interferes. But it's precious time and I make space for it.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Haere mai Clark!

Thanks for this contribution - I too find that music interferes with thought, though I love listening to it and have a passion for it.

I guess it shows the powerful influence that music has over our feelings and over what our minds permit us to think about. Listening to music does not help me to be creative.

Thanks for taking the time to drop by.

Catchya later