I’m in the business of advertising, creativity and new ideas. If you’re anything like me, then new ideas don’t just cometh unto you every minute of every day. And perhaps, like me, you have a busy life and a hell of a lot to get done each day: running a business, being a good employer, being a good dad, and at the end of it all, still trying to be a good husband.
Have you ever wondered why you’re not doing anything out-of-the-ordinary? Why you’re always stuck in the same rut with regard to your ideas in your craft? Why you’re not able to innovate?
It’s because you’re only ever doing what you believe is ‘more important’. You’re always going to have something that’s ‘more important’ than coming up with a great new idea or innovative way to do something. We all have to-do lists, jotted down on paper or popped into an app on our phone. We’re so busy trying to write down what we need to do, that our life becomes consumed by ‘the next thing’.
Here’s the kicker: You’re never going to innovate or create anything new if you keep doing what you’ve always done; if you keep trying to reach inbox-zero, or tick off the next important task on your list.
There’s a quote that goes, “Success is never getting to the bottom of your to-do list”—and the same goes for innovation and good ideas. We all strive to be productive and to get things done. That’s great, but innovation has nothing to do with being productive, nor is it about reaching a goal. It’s a journey.
No one ever changes the world by always obeying the rules. Think about that for a second.
Break the rules! Do things differently. Don’t answer emails for a day. Go to bed late. Play Xbox till 3 a.m. And at the same time, don’t give a crap. It’s when you give too much of a crap that it becomes a drag. “I need to come up with the next big idea NOW for this new campaign!” Well, guess what? It’s not going to happen.
Stuff what’s important. Throw it out of the window for just a day. Dunk a chip in your milk.
I run a business that employs 23 people—and, believe me, there are always important things to do. Finance, HR, stocking up on milk, making sure the Internet is working . . . Those things are important, of course. But if we want to run a groundbreaking business, one that changes the game, we certainly aren’t going to do it by concentrating only on the important things.
We’re going to do it by making time for the thing we never make time for: innovation.
Usually these types of articles have three or four steps to consider in order to achieve an end point. I’m saying screw that, it’s not important. I’m going to end off by telling you to open your to-do list and delete the task that you feel is most important. When you’re done, you’re going to eat an Oreo, and then you’re going to lie upside down from a chair and think about how you would draw a coat of arms for Oreo if Oreo were a country.
Innovate. Forget what’s important. At least just for today.