Working hard and having fun at the same time that’s the receipt for new ideas and solutions to your challenges.
It may sound paradoxical and indeed that’s what it is. When you are on a productive streak it’s easy to add a few more tasks and get so much done. It’s harder to start from zero and get even one tiny thing done.
Similarly, if you need to solve problems or just find new ideas they do not work the same way as filling the paperwork or doing a few more calls. You cannot will them to existence.
You need a certain type of mindset that does not work on call. It comes on its own time and place. You can only set the stage for it to appear. For this reason, some of the most creative people in the world played instruments or had unrelated hobbies or side projects.
It allowed them to gain insights, find new patterns and experiences from different circumstances. It increased their variance and range at the same time. This is the good stuff that allows you to make connections, find similarities or approach things from a totally new angle.
David Epstein explains in his book Range the advantage of generalists who are applying this approach to their life. Regardless of your career choice, you can still use similar methods in your life.
You cannot schedule playfulness in your calendar but you can create space for it. And you can learn to become more playful and curious. Like any skill, it gets easier with practice.
If you like art you could pop in an art gallery between telcos. There’s always something that you can do that is totally different and unrelated. It does not need to be a long stretch. It’s quality over quantity every time. Even a small conversation with someone can do the trick.
You just need to be open to external stimuli and exposure yourself to unexpected or unknown things for you. This can happen by doing something mechanical, too. Go for a run or do dishes.
The paradox has multiple layers on it. Boredom is an excellent way to become creative. Your mind starts to produce new ideas when you’re bored long enough. We all know this from our childhood. There’s was no magical playbook we downloaded if nothing else happened. We just made stuff up.
It’s called playfulness when you just allow yourself to be a little silly and purposeless. That’s where the magic happens, problems are solved and new ideas are born.