What’s Your Idea Schedule?

Take a quick look at your schedule for the next two weeks. If you are like most people, your calendar is packed to the gills with endless appointments, meetings, conference calls, and deadlines. When, in this insanely-busy schedule, are you planning to come up with your best ideas?

In the always-on, 24/7 business world we live in, when are we supposed to generate creative breakthroughs? In-between checking our Blackberries, responding to email, and updating our Facebook status? There are countless hours scheduled for operations, sales, reporting, finance, efficiency gains, and human resources… yet very few people actually schedule time to think, create, and invent.

One busy executive scheduled “Think Weeks” a few times a year. He would go off into seclusion for a week, loaded with reading material and time to explore his creativity. His staff would wait with baited breath to hear about his newest ideas for the business. In fact, some of this company’s most important advances originated during these Think Weeks. His name? The one and only Bill Gates. His legendary time to think left an indelible mark on Microsoft, and was the source of some of their biggest innovations.

Most of us don’t have the staff and resources to disappear for weeks on end, but we all have the ability to schedule two, one-hour thinking sessions each week. Get away from your desk to a place of inspiration such as an art museum, park, or historic landmark. Turn your phone off and turn your ideas on. Give a siesta to your analytical, logical Left Brain and let your creative, abstract Right Brain come out to play. Schedule the time, and treat it with the same importance as any other business meeting. Show up fully, and let your imagination soar.

Scheduling just 5% of your week to reflect, think, and create can yield dramatic results. Many of the people I’ve convinced to give it a try report that their productivity has reached new heights, and they have become a constant source of innovation. They also report that this is the most fun they have all week, and it is a time of both inspiration and renewal.

Give it a try for 30 days. 2-hours-a-week of unplugged, creative exploration. I have a hunch that it will quickly become one of your most important and rewarding habits.

P.S. Please let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you! Your stories, feedback, examples, and comments are greatly appreciated by the entire Creativity Generation community. Can’t wait to hear what you do with your 5% Creativity Challenge!