Lots of leaders talk about the importance of innovation. But many don’t really support their people to just be, to break out of the heads-down “doing” cycle, and to foster creative time. 

Consider, when do your best ideas come to you? For most of us, it is not when we’re in task mode, busy getting things done. We need to allow ourselves time and space to be quiet and to be creative. It is an act of self-love that reaps great rewards for your organization. There is strong evidence that putting love to work – an approach I call the “Amare Way” (Amare is Latin for love) – improves business and life in many ways, and self-love is where it all starts. 

It’s not always easy due to our conditioning and habits. We sometimes trick ourselves into believing that being busy and checking off tasks – doing, doing, doing – is all that matters, and we get rewarded for it too. Some people are in their power zone getting things done, which is great. Remember though, a strength overused becomes a weakness. That “doing” pattern can hold us back from creative exploration that may reveal incredible possibilities for us and our organizations. 

To increase creativity and innovation, start by getting at your core beliefs and patterns that may strongly influence if and how you invest in creative time. Consider these questions:

  • Do you personally hide behind being “busy” at work?
  • Do you judge taking “creative time” as being lazy, irresponsible, or weak?
  • Do you value just being – without doing – while at work?
  • Do your words and actions match with respect to creative time?
  • Does your organizational culture honor taking creative time?

Answer these questions without judgment. They are merely a reflection of your current state. If after reflecting on the questions above you wish to increase the time you spend opening the door for creativity and innovation to flow in, try the three simple techniques I’ve outlined below.

Four Ways to Get More Creative & Innovative

1. Let your mind wander. Give yourself quiet time free of interruptions (including texts, emails, etc.)- even an hour a week – to explore big ideas, like former Secretary of State George Schultz famously did. Research shows it improves problem-solving and creativity.

2. The 20/20/20 rule.  When on your computer, set a timer to prompt you to look at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. It’s good for your eyes, good for your mind, and good for your soul.

3. One minute meditation. Get started by taking one minute, just one minute (you can spare one minute yes??). Breathe in and breathe out eight times and simply notice the air going in and out. That’s it. Huge ROI! 

4. Do 25/50 minute meetings. There’s nothing magic about 30 or 60 minutes as the right amount of time for meetings. Schedule the hour or half hour, but always end a few minutes early. And set the expectation in advance that those remaining minutes are reserved for quiet reflection, not jumping to a next task.

If you are in a leadership position, you can set the tone for your organization to support creative time. It starts with you – not what you say, but what you do. Show with your actions that you enable, value, and reward people taking creative time. Even if there is no immediate result on occasion, it is always restorative and by no means a waste of time. And eventually breakthrough ideas will emerge, so you don’t just keep going down the same path without allowing for new possibilities!

Want even more ideas for overcoming too much “busyness” and increasing your creativity? Click here to check out a video I recorded on this topic. Be sure to also pick up a copy of my book, The Amare Wave: Uplifting Business by Putting Love to Work. It’s available on Amazon and wherever books are sold. 

Today’s Amare Wave Wednesday Quote

“You waste years by not being able to waste hours.”

―Dr. Amos Tversky, Psychologist & Decision-Making Expert


Expanded from an article originally published as an “Amare Wave Wednesday” newsletter on MosheEngelberg.com.

The Amare Wave Wednesday newsletter will inspire you to do one thing every Wednesday to put the power of love to work. To receive the Amare Wave Wednesday newsletter in your inbox every Wednesday, click here to subscribe. Get something you love in your inbox again!

To learn more about the Amare Way movement or purchase the book, visit www.MosheEngelberg.com