The American composer, Steve Reich once said that when you are trying to solve a problem but you can’t figure it out, “The best thing to do is to just leave it and put your mind somewhere else, and not always but often the solution to the problem will bubble up spontaneously”.
I think the same is true for all types of creating too. There’s only so many hours we can work without taking a break (or not on Modafinil) and not feel like our minds have turned into mashed potatoes. Perhaps there’s some wiggle room between how long each of us can work effectively, but I find it incredibly useful and good for my health to take breaks between work.
Spending twelve hours a day staring at a screen is probably not doing me any favors. Sometimes I’ll read, go for a walk, or even work on something else. Whatever gives me a pause from the creative work or problem at hand.
Too much work in one thing, even work you love, can make any sane person go crazy after a while. We need variety and pockets of play peppered throughout our day.
The same is true for working 24/7. There’s likely a good reason why our society takes Saturday and Sunday off. And yet, nowadays, work so easily can creep into Saturday and Sunday too. Emails. Last minute changes. Projects that need work before Monday. But that kind of overwork catches up with us after awhile.
We need time for ourselves. We need time to chat with friends. We need time to rest and refuel the creative tanks.
I don’t know about you, but I’m at my worst creatively (and otherwise) when I’m tired, hangry, overworked and over-focused.
How can you add more fruitful pauses to your day, week, year and life?
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #719
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