by Seth Simonds
How long can you work on a creative task before you need to recharge?
I like to think of my creative energy in terms of a little electric car. Not a beautiful and fast electric supercar (who am I kidding?) but a little bee-bop two-seater with an 8-inch steering wheel. If I had a picture of my creative energy, it’d look a lot like the one in the photo, only blue.
Thinking in terms of a small electric car allows me to plan for my projects based on three factors:
- My Range: I’m good for about 150 miles of projects before low-battery warnings start to sound. Sure, I can push a bit more, but if I do, I’ll need to take an extended break before I can get back to work in top form. There’s a time to push ahead through blinding exhaustion in order to get a task done but I try to avoid it.
- My Itinerary: Having a plan means I’ll know when to stop for breaks so that I keep myself charged and can bring a project to completion. Planning can seem like a dreadfully dull portion of a project but the resulting energy makes every moment of planning worth the effort.
- My Destination: If you’ve ever driven a car the size of my creative energy, you know that it can be hard to see over and around the larger vehicles involved in a project. Financial restriction trucks block intersections and deadline buses will try to run you off the road. Having a clear idea of what my end product allows me to stay focused no matter what short term distraction comes up.
I’m not a tireless machine that can happily trudge around social media stapling smiles to telephone polls and posting stump speeches on my blog without ever needing a break. I’m more like that little electric car, using power at a discernible rate. I get worn out during projects and find myself growing frustrated with people over things I’d never notice if I were getting enough sleep. I get dismayed by human nature and sometimes catch myself saying things like “I hate people” even though I don’t really mean it.
That all changes when I’ve planned out a project and know what my destination is and how I plan on reaching it. When I take time to recharge by quietly reading a novel, talking on the phone with a friend, or going for a walk, I find that my energy level stays high and projects are completed with a flourish. Bringing a friend along for the ride can add a lot to a project as well. The picture of the car shows only two seats but there’s room for a lot more people than you’d imagine!
What do you do to keep your battery charged?