You may or may not have noticed by now but I really like social media and emerging tech. It's sort of my thing. And I write about it a lot. It's not like I have a lot of time to kill at work and do nothing but write posts for this site all day. I take that passion for new media past five o'clock and do almost all my writing after hours. Not long ago, Todd Schnick wrote about the work-life balance, how it's really not an issue if you really enjoy what you do. I agree to a point. Social media is more than a paycheck for me. It's something I find extremely fun and playing around with new social networks is a hobby. I could read Mashable or Tech Crunch (insert dozens of other sites here) until my eyes physically won't stay open.
Here's the catch...
Even though I love it, or you love it, you have to take a break from it now and again. Change up the type of content you consume and/or interact with. That doesn't mean to simply reading another tech blog. Change up the genre. Get out of the marketing bubble for a bit. Go see a play. Read a fiction novel. Get on StumbleUpon and scan random nuggets of awesomeness that is online. Learn a new language (or at least attempt to). Watch a TV show that doesn't relate to work (if you're in marketing, that's easier said than done...).
This doesn't just go for marketing. It could be applied to any discipline. Dig into content that's outside your profession or realm of expertise. Read nothing but non-fiction? Try fiction here and there. Keep up with the Kardashians religiously? Try a documentary on Discovery Channel once in a while.
It helps breed creativity. Staying in a bubble (even if that bubble is a creative field by trade) will hinder your creative juices. Learning something out of your comfort zone stretches your brain and ultimately, your mental content arsenal of possible ideas. You'll be surprised what sort of things you come up with when you aren't consumed by your work, no matter how much you enjoy that work.
This also helps if you are stuck in a rut, hitting a brick wall on the solution to a problem. Sometimes stepping away from the problem and not thinking about it will make the solution come a bit easier later on. It'll make you better at what you do. When I was running in high school and college, cross-training was stressed even if we weren't hurt. Not working the same muscles over and over and changing things up made us better overall athletes and ultimately better at our discipline.
What about you? Do you find that branching out here and there helps inspire creativity? What other outlets do you pursue when you aren't consumed with the field you're passionate about?
- StumbleUpon breaks new record with 27.5 million "Stumbles" (thenextweb.com)
- How to Be Creative - eBook (spring.org.uk)
- No Right Brain Left Behind (designmind.frogdesign.com)