Have you ever noticed the amount of idioms in the English language that relate to time?
A matter of time; how time flies; lost in the mists of time – there are hundreds of them. Because we as a society, are constantly watching the clock.
When it comes to work, the phrase “time and tide wait for no man” is felt in full effect, because there’s nothing worse than having a deadline looming. The amount of times (there it goes again) I have sat down to write, racing against the clock to hammer out words, wishing that at that moment I could punctuate my own life with decided, grammatical pauses. To trail off with an ellipsis… come to an abrupt halt with a full stop. But no, this is not Bernard’s Watch – I can’t stop the steady ticking of time, nor can I reverse it Marty McFly-style.
But wait, I’ve forgotten the most valuable idiom of the lot: time out.
Instead of anxiously watching the proverbial sands of time trickle through an hourglass in your mind, turn that bastard on its side. Let time lay dormant – because creativity and time do not make good bedfellows.
The process of creating a piece of work sometimes can’t be constrained by a time frame. As absurd as it may sound, google sheets can be your arch enemy – planning and organising a piece of work according to days, months and even years is to place a limitation upon it. As former president of Israel, Golda Meir adroitly once said: “I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.”
So go on, have a break and forego the Kit Kat – take a bite out of the earth instead. A holiday can not only serve as inspiration, but also as a remedy for creative exhaustion. When writer’s block strikes, or your visual prowess is lacking, there’s little a change of scenery won’t fix. To equally take your mind off the creative work at hand, picking up a new hobby can help. Signing up for a new class or picking up an old, forgotten activity could serve to relieve some artistic pressure and open your mind once more. For a more dramatic take, what about taking on a new job entirely? It may sound a little reckless, but sometimes a clean break is needed, before you can break new creative ground.
If you’re still feeling apprehensive about taking time off from work, then fear not – a lot of successful creatives have already told father time to hang on a minute. After a hiatus which has lasted over a quarter of a century, David Lynch is bringing Twin Peaks back next year, whilst Judy Blume returns with a new adolescent heroine nearly two decades after her last novel.
Time is the most used noun in the English language (if this column wasn’t evidence enough) but as a construct, its often not used effectively. If you’re stuck in a creative rut, or feeling ticked off by the tick of the clock, stop worrying about losing time – it’s best to tell time to get lost.