One thing this second lockdown has forced and then reinforced, is that there is a digital solution to most problems and all of our every day tasks. We’re shopping more online, we’re meeting our friends and colleagues online and children are having to be educated online if there’s COVID in their classroom.
My own job entails hours of staring at data. It’s always digital these days too. But data is just that. Data. Without analogue thinking, it remains as just data too. It’s only when you’re able to see through the data and understand what it’s saying, that it can begin to make sense. And that’s where the idea of ‘Think Analogue’ comes in.
We don’t think digitally. Few of us think in neat straight lines and along linear paths.
We think analogue.
And that’s why working from home and not getting out in the world will begin to stifle creative thinking and hamper brilliant solutions to problems. Early on in the first lockdown, I’d been trying to crack a particularly challenging conundrum with one of my clients. I was literally tearing my hair (i wish) out, staring at the screen, with no sign of inspiration. But a walk with the dog, in the woods near my home solved it. it didn’t just help me solve it, it helped me create something that has changed a lot about their business since and that’s a huge success.
It’s these little analogue interludes in our day that stop us becoming battery hens and killing our ability to create.
Isaac Asimov in one of his semi religious books, wrote about a devil called Azazel. He’s two centimetres tall and grants wishes that wreck people’s lives. In one of the short stories, a writer, frustrated by the amount of time he has to wait, has his wish granted, asking for less waiting everywhere. He believes it will give him more time to write and therefore more capacity to earn. As is Azazel’s way, the wish is tainted and the writer, with no waiting time is no longer able to write. He loses those analogue moments, where ideas are able to float into his brain and after a few weeks, can no longer create at all.
So, even with all of these restrictions we’re living with, think analogue, dream analogue and act analogue. Get out and have some mini adventures. They don’t need to be daring or dangerous, they just need to be different to the day you’ll be spending hunched over your laptop, and the hours you’ll be spending on Zooms over the next few months.
When we look back at this in a few years time, the things we’ll remember and the things we’ll have pictures in our mind and on our computer will be of the times we spent between the digital.