How technology is killing your creativity
Almost by accident (or through financial shrewdness), we’ve stumbled across a way of working that is changing how we think, create and live. As we look to harness this new found sense of freedom and hear about other creatives taking the same path, we start to believe that this is the future of design.
We’ve been working ’nomadically’ since the conception of our business. With no four walls to call our own, we moved around from each other’s houses, coffee shops, co op working spaces, shepherds huts and most importantly, outdoor spaces. We began to love the freedom that it brought and noticed the benefits from taking a little time away from technology.
The concept of a ‘digital nomad’ is not new. It’s been something that blogging and writing communities have been championing for some time, posting pictures from the latest trip to Spain with a quick pic of their laptop next to pool. That all sounds lovely, but we don’t quite have the luxury or bank balance for such a blessed lifestyle. Our version of a digital nomad comes with a bit less glamour, more lonely hours, and much more mud!
So what have we learnt from our nomadic adventure?
1.Appreciate the great big outdoors
In a recent post by Derek Beres ‘Being Busy Is Killing Your Ability To Think Creatively’ he depicts how always being connected to our devices is leaving our minds tired and listless. How, if your mind is not left to be idle and to daydream, will you ever have the time and space to create? He quotes Emma Seppälä who suggest that a good long walk, without your phone, should become part of your day.
“1. Make a long walk — without your phone — a part of your daily routine
2. Get out of your comfort zone
3. Make more time for fun and games
4. Alternate between doing focused work and activities that are less intellectually demanding “
As two active dog owners this piece of advice fits us well. We love to explore the countryside during our evenings and weekends, but find that it is the time we carve out during the working day, to get outside and think, that really helps to feed our creativity. Take a walking meeting on a blustery mountain top, get lost in a forest and find inspiration in nature, sit next to a river and allow your mind to wander… Just get outside and look around at the world every now and again, it’ll be amazing what you’ll see.
There are countless studies into how bad sitting all day can be for you, worse than smoking some even claim, and yet most of the population spend upwards of 7 hours a day sitting in a chair. It’s amazing how your brain can become as stiff and achy as your body from being sat in a high-stress position for hours on end. Get up, get out and get active. We’ve taking to going out for a walk whilst catching up over the business or brain storm about a project. Your brain comes to life once your body does. It always amazes us how a problem which seemed so tough once sat at a computer, can so easily be solved whilst walking and talking.
3. Surround yourself with the best people
Now, this has been a tough one for us, as Susan Chan’s book, Quiet, clearly pointed out to us, we are both introverts, much happier in one on one situations that in large crowds. But, being nomadic, having no one place to call our home, we need that network around us. Going out to talks and meetups with like minded people, and starting to build up a collective of fellow passionate and inspirational folk has really changed how we see our business.
“Now that you’re an adult, you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book. Or maybe you like to eat alone in restaurants and could do without the pitying looks from fellow diners. Or you’re told that you’re “in your head too much”, a phrase that’s often deployed against the quiet and cerebral.
Or maybe there’s another word for such people: thinkers.”
4. Find real inspiration
We do everything online. We bank, socialize, plan, shop, share, date, book, buy and often look for inspiration there too. It’s all too easy to fall on your favorite design and technology blogs, and do a little scrolling on Pinterest and feel like you’re keeping up with what’s going on in the world. But we’re starting to miss out on what is really happening. Get out, go to talks, go to events, listen to real people, talk to real people and see first hand how what and why they create what they do. Nothing will affect you like being sat in a room with people who all share common interests listening to someone inspiring. We learned that whilst at this year’s Murmurations talks in Chester, where we met some fantastic people and left feeling fully recharged and ready to change the world.
We still feel like we’re very much at the beginning of our journey, and we’re learning from our mistakes as we go along, but the best piece of advice that we can offer to anyone working in the design and technology industry is to let yourself get away from your tech as often as you can. Leave behind your fear of missing out on the latest trending tweets, or the next youtube sensation, and make sure you don’t miss out on real life.