We were lucky enough to travel to Mexico recently where our dried out spongey brains were renewed with fresh coconut water and guacamole. Long haul explorations across the Atlantic definitely aren’t always on the agenda, but any form of travel however short or long, can do wonders for a weary mind. We’ve also found that taking shorter pauses alongside our daily work can inspire new creativity and ways of thinking in unpredictable and brilliant ways.
As a small studio with long-term clients we really care about, our adventures often include some level of connection and opening of the laptop. This has taken some trial and error but we’ve found it to be really enjoyable and freeing to work whilst we’re away. Firstly it avoids the dreaded humungous inbox on returning home and unexpectedly means we can often relax more whilst we’re away. Moving away from the all or nothing mentality that often surrounds work and time off is something we’re learning slowly – here’s a few lessons we’ve learned so far.
1. The same four walls make creativity a dull business.
If you’re like us you most likely sit in the same chair, next to the same person, sipping your brew out of the same mug. Routine is brilliant and we wouldn’t be without it but immersing yourself in new surroundings every now and then can help to fire off new patterns in your brain and shed light on challenges and unhelpful patterns.
Just working in your local coffee shop for a few hours has been shown to boost creative thinking and productivity.
Work with whatever time you’ve got and find what suits you best.
2. Walking and talking is a cure-all
Walking meetings seem to be the new hip thing but we all know that the great outdoors is a timeless solution to get the creative juices flowing – Wordsworth and daffodils are sound evidence. For us, a 20 minute walk around the local park might be enough to start off a new business plan, or a chance to dig our toes in the sand will help us to feel more grounded and able to manage our workload when we return to our screens.
There’s also something about talking through things – in your own mind or with a colleague – that is less tricky when you’re walking side by side rather than eye to eye. There are people out there who have backed this up with research.
3. Bursting your bubble is refreshing and eye opening
The fact is that not everyone is doing the same thing as you – we know this intellectually but in the midst of a hectic work life it can be forgotten. Some people are weaving dreamcatchers, others are making delicious coffee or working the land. And even the people who are doing a similar job to you may be doing it in quite a different way – there’s always more than one way to skin a cat as the saying goes.
Travel gives us a chance to marvel at other people’s day to day and step out of our own. Cheesy but true.
4. Pen, Paper and People
Being away, especially suspended from the real world in midair, is sometimes the permission slip we need to get out a notebook and start daydreaming and doodling. I have a great love of poetry but never normally give myself permission to spend an hour or two writing for pleasure. On my last flight I resisted the urge to watch back to back films and instead wrote two cathartic poems that felt like they’d been dying to be spilled onto paper.
And never underestimate people watching, we loved seeing Stephen Cheetham’s recent series of illustrations from his time spent living in the city of Jaipur. People watching wherever you are is a never ending source of inspiration.
5. Post a letter
If all else fails, go and post a letter. It means you can walk with purpose, not feel like you’re skiving and get some headspace.
Main image of Tulum, Mexico via Unsplash by Andy McCune