Don't just do something. Sit there.
More often than not my most creative moments occur when I'm alone in a hotel room at night, sitting on a plane or waiting in the airport, at a mountain cabin, driving with the radio off, hiking, ostensibly meditating, or in bed and can't sleep unless I get up and write down my inspiration.
Great ideas rarely come when I'm "in the heat of battle" with emails, phone calls, appointments and staff interruptions -- activities which, by the way, can easily fill an entire day, not to mention many days strung together.
That said, innovation doesn't arise from "the heat of battle" activities. It arises during the calm silence, the concentration that is possible in the open, quiet space between such activities. If no such space is made, the result is more of the same.
Create space -- even if only 20 or 30 minutes, but preferably more -- for a retreat every work day. Find an empty conference room, go to a park or a coffee shop. You can stay in your office if you can maintain privacy, but it's not ideal. Don't take your computer or your crackberry unless you must. Bring only a pad a pen.
Then, just sit. In the open, quiet space, inspiration will come -- or it won't. The purpose is to practice creating the space, not specific outcomes.
Edward Tufte on Data, Analysis, & Truth
16 hours ago