Einsteinwas famous for saying that if he had one hour to save the world, he’d use 55 minutes of it to clarify the problem.
Recently on a speaking stage I found myself telling the audience that if I had one hour to do something, I’d spend the first 55 minutes at Target. (I always aim to impress…)
Can you procrastinate like that and still get your writing (or other creative tasks) done? Einstein and I got you covered.
I wasn’t kidding about Target. When I have big things to write or ideate, I often head to Target, or a museum or a walk in nature. Even this blog, which needed writing yesterday. I decided on a topic yesterday and google about and then I did everything else – took my son to school, had lunch with a friend, did other work, picked up son, dropped off daughter at work, had dinner, tv and sleep. Yes, this little post wrote itself during that time, and is pouring out of me now – in about 5 minutes.
Einstein called it “combinatory play.” He said he came up with some of his best scientific breakthroughs during his violin breaks. His theory was that when stuck in one creative arena, jump to a different kind of creative activity and your brain will continue to work on the original problem. (For me, Target can be very creative. It’s the visual stimulus.)
Einstein said – in a 1945 letter to mathematician Jacques S. Hadamard – words could actually get in the way of this process, but the essential elements for him were “visual and of some muscular type.”
Einstein called it combinatory play. I’ve always called it procrastubation – mix of procrastination and incubation. If you cue up your creative work in your brain, and then procrastinate, the only thing that can prevent your brain from working on the project is a constant verbal assault (as we sometimes indulge ourselves in) like: I’m such a procrastinator, I have to get back to that work, OMG, I’m in such trouble, this is horrible, I’m horrible. etc. So let yourself procrastubate. Let go, and let come. Your brain has great things in store for you if you let it work.