There is an inherent beauty in the spotless design of unbroken uniformity. A placid pond without ripples. Endless assembly line loops. Dominoes sitting stacked like obedient soldiers, primed for the fall. We marvel at the meticulousness and take comfort in the reassuring sense that we can anticipate what’s approaching, whether secretly emerging from the shadows or blatantly barreling around blind corners.
Many of the highest output producers have established deliberate methodologies to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. Even in artistic pursuits, there is normally a series of steps taken before the comfort of creativity has a chance to blossom.
History’s most revered thinkers, philosophers, and intellectuals instituted various structured systems and behaviors that allowed them the unencumbered freedom to simply ponder. When we are buried beneath the oxygen-depriving load of checklists, appointments, strain, stress, responsibilities, and distractions, our mental hard drives are too busy spinning plates to thoroughly question, dissect, or explore.
Time management and prioritization are elusive little devils that keep their pitchforks purposely pointed in my direction with far more regularity than I’d like to publicly accept. Staying lost in thoughts that do nothing but add to the tally of uncontrollable variables—drowning in a sea of projection and conjecture—exemplifies the dizzying, dehydrating hamster wheel sprinting that stands in direct opposition to productivity or a legitimate sense of accomplishment.
Find a habit, build a plan, schedule a working window, wait until inspiration strikes, and then let your mind wander free. That seemingly baffling juxtaposition is exactly the recipe required for baking the bread of ideas.
But don’t let the wander turn into maze-making. Hunt for exits and solutions, not walls and hidden cheese.