If You Want to Be a More Creative Marketer, Make Your "Nothing Time"
By: Ben Wills |

In some way, shape, or form, I've studied "productivity" since reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in middle school.

A couple years ago, I was drinking no less than 12 shots of espresso every day. It helped me get more work done. Faster. I could stay up later and I could get working immediately after waking up.

Get more done. Faster. The key to productivity. The key to success. The key to great accomplishments. The key to a great life...

However, as I began to pursue more creative endeavors (writing, programming, etc), I realized that "do more, faster" wasn't working.

I'd sit down to force myself to write, and it wouldn't work. When I couldn't think of anything to write, I'd get discouraged. Then I'd get frustrated. Then I'd give up on it.

Around the same time, I was spending a ton of time with people as I began getting more into women's coaching. It was the same thing...talk with as many people as I can, as much as I can. I met tons of folks and, soon, I was spending 80 hours a week with people.

It wasn't sustainable.

And I noticed my creativity declining. Hard.

What I soon found, accidentally at first, was that I needed "nothing time."

With nothing time, I did just that...nothing. I didn't watch TV. I didn't watch movies. I didn't zone out. I just layed there on my couch or in bed. Doing nothing. Thinking about nothing.

Sometimes, my mind would race. And I'd let it race, so long as I wasn't putting effort into keeping it going or into stopping it. Eventually, my mind would stop and it would be clear.

Sometimes, my mind would be completely clear right off the bat.

But what I noticed was that if I went into my "nothing time" knowing I wanted to write or solve some sort of program...if I let my mind get to nothingness, after a bit, a writing topic or a programming solution would arise.

And what arose were solutions and topics that I simply couldn't have forced. By letting myself get to that nothingness, it allowed another part of myself, a more creative part, show up.

It was as though "doing" anything got in the way of my creativity. Once I stopped "doing," I could create wonderful things from that space.

If you're getting stuck on creativity - that "soft" side of marketing that makes all the difference between successful marketers and amazing marketers, I suggest scheduling your "nothing time."

Let your nothing time be just that, nothing.

If you're a writer, schedule three hours of nothing time. Let your mind go blank and, from that blank space, let it create a wonderful piece of writing.

If you're a marketer, schedule three hours of nothing time. Let your mind go blank and, from that blank space, let it create a wonderful marketing strategy or tactic for you or a client.

However you spend it, at the end of that three hours, I bet you end up with something much more wonderful than if you tried to force it.


  1. Ben dude, right on the

    Ben dude, right on the money.

    I'd like to add: Get REAL good at being in the moment.

    I know that sounds so cliche - but I'm willing to bet a very small percentage of us have actually experienced this for real. I learned to "turn this on" almost at will through years and years of playing improvised music professionally.

    A book I'd recommend along those lines is "Free Play".

    Nice article and you know I've recently connected with you on Twitter. I remember your talk and SearchLove last year as one of my favs and like your personal blog as well.

    I knew somehow your outlook on things resonated with me and it makes sense because 7 Habits in one book I keep central to my life as much as possible since first reading it about 5 years ago.

  1. Getting really great at being

    Getting really great at being in the moment is another huge one. To be honest, I didn't feel I had a grasp on that until a year ago. Since then, it's been one of my most deliberate practices. I'm glad you pointed that out. And I'll definitely be checking out Free Play - Always up for a great book.

    Thank you for the compliment on SearchLove. It was my first speaking gig in a long time and, while I know it could have been a lot better, I'm glad it deeply resonated with you. :)

  1. Awesome stuff! I tend to let

    Awesome stuff! I tend to let my mind "reset" and oftentimes come up with my best ideas then. Looking forward to the next article!

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