Photo by zanzibar
This is the first in a series of posts that showcase things I’ve learned during my recent honeymoon travels.
My new wife and I decided to go on a Caribbean cruise for our honeymoon, and with the help of the most knowledgeable traveler I know, we booked an amazing week-long cruise.
Lynn made me promise to leave my laptop at home, and we decided both of our phones were going to remain off for the entire trip. (Little did we know that it costs a ton to have wifi connection and even phone service on a cruise.) We wanted to spend time with each other, without worrying about the outside world.
And then a funny thing happened. I had an absolute deluge of creativity.
Aside from hanging out with the most beautiful woman in the world for a week, I managed to:
- write 5 posts and a few post “fragments” for potential posts
- planned and completely outlined 2 entire ebooks
- put finishing writing touches on a soon to be released ebook
- planned goals for the next 6 months for my sites and release dates
- and on top of all that I managed to read 4 print books.
All without the help of a computer. This was far and away the most productive week of my life, and I was on vacation. So how did I do it?
Factor One: Distraction-Free Platform
Without the computer I was able to think clearer with less distractions. No IM, no Twitter, no email… those are just a few of the benefits of unplugging.
But more importantly, the medium I was using was much better suited for no holds barred creative output. A pen and paper is so simple, yet it’s the most powerful tool that I own. Unlike computers, the simplicity of paper and a pen makes it more powerful. It can only mirror what I’ve put onto it, nothing more. I can jot ideas down as fast as my hand can write, and I’m not constrained to just text. I can draw diagrams, make arrows, circle worlds, all with a few swooshes of the wrist.
Also, when I use a computer I feel sucked in to the screen in front of me. Pen and paper allows me to look away, take in my surroundings, without demanding my attention like a computer monitor does. In terms of the perfect “output” medium, a pen and paper wins every time.
I don’t think that we give enough thought or credit to the medium or tools that we’re using to create or get information. The medium means everything.
Factor Two: No Extra Distractions
While Lynn and I explored all parts of the ships and were constantly checking out ports and towns along the cruise, the only place where I was actually doing this creation was either in our ship room or on our private balcony. Why? Because there weren’t any distractions in these two places.
Thanks to Chris’ excellent advice, we opted to pay a little more and get a balcony room. This meant that every morning I could sit out on our balcony, enjoy the fantastic weather and ocean views, without having to worry about distractions like other people.
Contrast that environment with the one I’m in right now. I’m sitting at a table in a coffee shop with random people walking in and out, ordering coffee. Cell phones ringing, people talking, espresso machines hissing. While I typically love working in a coffee shop, the cruise spoiled me. The only distractions there were the waves and the incredible views.
Which brings me to the last factor…
Factor Three: The perfect “Work” Environment
Great work environments mean everything. For whatever reason, beauty, scenery and nature inspires like no other. Inspiration means you can output more and better ideas.
Imagine the “office” I was using on the cruise: A private balcony on a ship that gently swayed as it rolled through the ocean towards our next port. The sound of the sea lightly hitting the side of the boat. The warm Caribbean breeze blowing.
Now contrast that with this:
Photo by tenderlung
Pretty much the same, right? Hmmm….
I know this was a major reason I was able to think clearly, plan and create with such efficiency. The unprecedented work environment created unprecedented results.
The best part: I wasn’t even trying to do anything productive. I just wanted to jot down some ideas. This simple act coupled with a perfect work environment and no distractions lead to a 6 day outpouring of ideas.
What about you? Have you experienced this before? Can you attribute these factors to your creative boons?