Work Hard. Rest Hard.

How to improve creativity
Image: Batiste Safont

Sleeping bags. That’s Soundwave’s lasting memory of producing Kendrick Lamar’s album, Damn. Such was Lamar’s work ethic, they practically lived in the studio for months. And when Kanye West wanted the artist to open for him on his American Yeezus tour, Kendrick only agreed to do it under the proviso he had a recording studio built into his tour bus so he could continue to make music while on the road.

It’s this attitude to work that’s helped Lamar climb to the top of hip hop, amassing thirteen Grammys and an unheard of Pulitzer prize. But however intense his working sessions become, every day without fail, Lamar takes thirty minutes out of his day to completely remove himself from work. It’s this small respite from his working day that allows Lamar to clear his head, jump start his brain and go again.

In advertising, we work to such busy schedules, the idea of taking time out from a brief to crack the brief seems counter-productive, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Continually working on the same thing distorts your thinking. You become so embroiled in the work, you cease to think of it objectively. If you live with it for too long, problems that appear obvious to others, are missed by you.

That’s why it’s so important to take time away from projects. In doing so, you allow your mind to escape the brief that’s constantly filled your every thought and begin to think about other things. By doing this, when you return to the job at hand, you’re seeing it anew and with fresh eyes. This makes it easier to spot flaws and implement the small adjustments that will have a massive effect on the overall idea. The other benefit of seeing it fresh is that you’re getting as close to what it will be like for every consumer who sees your work.

So next time you’re struggling to work out a problem, just walk away. The answer should be waiting for you when you return.

Crowd singing Humble, USA ‘17


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