Can Snow Days Boost Our Creative Capacity?

SnowDayThanks to this year’s unusually disruptive winter weather, we’ve probably all experienced a few days in which our daily routines have been disrupted, as well. If you’re like me, your first reaction to these disruptions is probably negative. This year, however, I decided to rise above that negativity and turn each disruption into an opportunity.

When my first “snow day” of the year appeared, I decided to take the upper hand and proactively change my daily routine. Instead of heading out to my local Starbucks for coffee first thing, I decided to stay off the icy roads and enjoy a cup of tea at home. And, rather than quickly jumping online, I sat at my kitchen table and began mentally mapping out my workday. This led to my grabbing a sketch pad and marker and drawing a “mind map” to help me think through a new client project.

It had been awhile since I had begun a new project offline. With all of our digital tools so close at hand, it can be easy to forget the power of even a crude hand sketch to sort out a process. I ended up sharing my sketches with my client and I think that helped him better visualize our process, as well.

On another snow day, when all of my meetings were cancelled or rescheduled, I decided to flip my routine. Instead of saving my work-related reading for late in the evening, I began that morning with a reading session. Not only were my eyes fresher, but I was also able to apply several fresh, new ideas to my design work immediately that morning. This new routine made me wonder how many fresh, new ideas I “sleep on” and promptly forget following a late night reading session.

These little changes in the workday routine pointed out how valuable it can be to change things up more often. Rather than arbitrarily sticking to a set routine five days a week, we should allow disruption in more often. It just may boost our creative capacity and help us come at a problem from a new perspective.

What do you think?

by Rebecca Cochran