Time wages war against us innovators with an endless army that surges forward, claiming the hours, the minutes, and the seconds we could be using to change the world. They get consumed by Time’s horrific horde, never to be seen again. Insomnia sometimes feels like a blessing because you can get up and work on your project undivided. At least it beats laying your head on your pillow, ruminating that every minute spent sleeping is another minute your prototype sits undelivered, undeveloped, and untested. But if you’ll allow me to remaster Al Pacino’s speech from Any Given Sunday, “The seconds we need, are everywhere around us.”
Innovation, reinvention, lifehacking… what ever your angle is on it, needs time. And unless you are part of the lucky few who get to professionally power think tanks with battery-like brains, you need to find time in the nooks and crannies of your schedule. It may be small, but time is there for the taking. Take a look at the newest illustration by Zen Pencils.
Is that not worth exploring? by James Rhodes, Illustrated by Zen Pencils
What I like best about what James Rhodes said was that the time was still spent on the required activities; work, family, sleep. Even after all that there were still six hours in the week that could be devoted to something personal. In the context of this illustration, it was learning the piano. In our context, it will moving your innovation forward.
“Lost time is never found again” Benjamin Franklin
If you are a weekend warrior innovator or you scratch your creative itch at work with side projects, this post is talking directly to you. I myself have a creative role, and yet in my spare time I find creative pursuits that I don’t get to chase at work, like boardgame design. Whatever your dream is, whatever your product is, the longer it sits in your brain is the longer your dream goes unrealized. Who would have thought that the biggest obstacle to your goal, would be you? I want to encourage you, to get your idea to go forth.
Think of your idea on a treadmill in your head. There it is, churning away. “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” Yes, yes that would be cool! So let’s get some traction going. Yet, your idea continues to churn on the treadmill. You see, if it keeps heading in the same direction it’s always gone, it will stay where it has always been… in your head. For your idea to move to new places, it has to step in a different direction. And you need time to move in those new directions. So grab the time when you can find it. Don’t miss an opportunity to be awesome.
We spend so much of our free time consuming the awesome that other’s have created. We binge on shows, we like our friend’s witty posts, we spend hours watching other people play video games on You Tube. And there is nothing wrong with that. They say to be a good writer, you must be a good reader so it would make sense that to be innovative, you must be involved in other people’s innovations. However, let’s look at what Stephen King said.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two thins above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Stephen King
It isn’t about just consuming, you have to create also. It is two parts: you must research and you must do. So take some of that free time and put it towards your innovation. Start paper prototyping your innovation. Plan out some testable hypotheses. Just talk to potential customers about their pain points. it is all about gaining traction, moving your idea ahead, going forth, and being awesome.
- Evaluate your daily activities
- Identify some times where you can work on your innovation
- Set a reminder on your phone/calendar/refrigerator
- Stick to your appointment!