The 5-Minute Off Switch

My brain seems to have forgotten its “off switch” on occasion. Has yours?

I’m not only describing the next-to-impossible fight to go to sleep every night, when all my electronic devices are beckoning me to DO MORE THINGS on the Internet, etc. I’ve actually found myself disconnecting from my artistic side more and more as I have become involved with things on the Internet. There just seems to be less time for me to be creative when there’s one more article or video I haven’t seen yet. (This very blog post is late because I started out trying to write it and ended up wrapped up on Pinterest for an hour!) Because I get so thoroughly involved in what I’m doing on a screen, I end up locking out the outside world–and thus, my creativity sense is dulled. How can I write or sing about a world I’m no longer in direct contact with?

The “Off Switch:” An Abrupt but Necessary Change for Creativity

What if we all turned off our devices, our news feeds, our constant stream of data from the outside world, for 5 minutes? I don’t mean just locking the screens and putting the devices aside, but literally turning every device of distraction off and going to another room. What could we start to be aware of? Our own bodies? The tick-tick-tick of time passing? Our family members in the house? The feel of the seat we’re sitting in? The weather outside the window?

As connected to my devices as I am now (and I’d guess that most of us are like that), I think such a disconnect would be VERY difficult–almost impossible at first. We’re all Internet junkies these days, relying on constant connectivity to avoid being bored in line, to avoid difficult conversation, etc. A 5-minute “off switch” would force all of us to confront what’s truly in our minds, and perhaps an idea or two can begin to synthesize at last. Even if you don’t think of yourself as creative, simply not being bombarded with everyone else’s thoughts and worldly data can be incredibly freeing!

Give It a Try!

When you turn off all your devices and go to another room to sit quietly, allow your own thoughts to bubble to the surface. This is what makes the “off switch” different from meditation (I can never clear my head of ALL thoughts, so this is the next best thing). If you find yourself at a loss for what to think about (or are itching to get back to being connected), think about this: what are you missing in the world? What do you wish existed?

Take these 5 minutes and generate something from within your own head, instead of what you think about the daily headlines and that annoying person’s status message. Who knows, you may come up with something brilliant that would have never seen the light of day without the “off switch!”

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