I am part of the creative class. I write, take photos, produce videos — communicate for a living.
On an average day I multitask all day, work with multiple (short) deadlines, change topics and directions at a moment’s notice, and I do it without a pause (it often seems). I generate, and I produce, and I create, and I publish. And that’s on a normal day.
It’s not uncommon in my schedule to take lunch at my desk finishing a project, to work into the evening, to work on the weekend. And the harder I work, the more hours I spend at a desk and at the office, the less creative I become.
Creativity, for me, requires downtime. By actually leaving work at the office, leaving the office at a reasonable hour (every once in a while), enjoying activities that are silly or unstructured or just different, all of this actually improves my work product. It seems counter-intuitive, I know, but it works for me.
These days I take a break by grabbing my camera and going around to take random photos. Sometimes I’ll start to experiment with recipes, making everything from microwaved fudge to homemade sauces. Every once in a while I’ll find a corner without any technology and sketch (and I honestly can’t draw a straight line). If I do this enough I start to see my creative blocks unblock, and my work flows faster.
What works for you?