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Unlocking Creativity: When the Clock Strikes Inspiration


"Creativity is intelligence having fun"

Albert Einstein


Five years ago, I found myself at a creative crossroads, wrestling with a problem that seemed all too familiar to many in the creative field. Every time I booted up Pro Tools, I was greeted with a blank canvas that remained stubbornly empty. Projects would start with a burst of optimism, only to be scrapped in frustration. On the rare occasions I did finish a piece, it felt formulaic—safe, but uninspired. My toolbox was full, yet the spark to use those tools in new, exciting ways was missing.

Then, amidst a project for Telstra—Australia's telecom giant—I stumbled upon a beacon of hope in the form of a literary masterstroke: Daniel Pink's "When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing." Devouring its pages, I discovered what I subconsciously knew but had never harnessed: I was a night owl trapped in an early bird's schedule.



The Night Owl Revelation

This revelation was more than just an "aha" moment; it was a seismic shift in how I approached my work. The quiet of the night, once a time for rest, transformed into my peak period of creativity. As my young family wound down for the evening, my mind revved up, producing work that wasn't just good—it was inspired.


Daniel Pink's insights into chronotypes—our natural inclinations for sleep and active hours—resonated deeply. He argues that understanding whether you're an early bird, a night owl, or a "third bird" can unlock your creative potential, a theory that proved transformative for me.



Tailoring Your Creative Schedule

For early birds, the break of dawn brings a fresh wave of creativity, an ideal time for brainstorming and tackling complex projects. Meanwhile, night owls like myself find our muse in the moonlight when the world quiets down, and our thoughts take flight.


The third birds, those who flutter between dawn and dusk, might find their peak creative hours in the late morning or early afternoon. This flexibility allows them to adapt and find their optimal time for innovation and creativity.


Embracing Your Inner Chronotype

My journey from creative stagnation to a flourishing of ideas underscores the importance of aligning your work with your natural rhythms. It wasn't just about shifting my schedule; it was about embracing my true self and restructuring my day to harness my peak creative hours.

Pink also highlights the significance of breaks and downtime. For me, stepping away to enjoy a moment of quiet or a laugh with my family proved crucial for refreshing my mind and sparking new ideas.




A Creative Renaissance

The transition to working during my natural peak hours didn't just improve my output—it rejuvenated my love for audio production. Projects that once felt like uphill battles flowed with ease, each session a chance to explore and innovate without the weight of forced inspiration.



The Takeaway

For those feeling stuck in a creative rut, consider this a call to reevaluate not just how you work, but when. Daniel Pink's "When" was more than just a book for me; it was a lifeline that pulled me back to my passion with renewed vigour and perspective. By understanding and embracing our chronotypes, we can all find our optimal time for creativity, transforming our work and perhaps even our lives.

So, whether you're crafting the next hit song, editing a podcast, or sketching out a new design, remember: the key to unlocking your full creative potential may just lie in the timing. Let's not just work smarter but at the right time. Trust me, it's a game-changer.

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This is an awesome insight Robbo! I have often struggled with the same thing. I feel like I'm a combo of early bird and night owl (looking at the lists), although I've been working breakfast hours for so many years. Now I'm older and working from home I'm finding my body clock is changing. Gotta figure out which bird I am!

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Mate I'd highly recommend the book. He has some other amazing books with similar insights as well. Check him out hxt time you have your feet up in the hammock by the pool!

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