I’ve noticed a few themes emerging in the professional development space that center around the need for individuals to find ways to decompress, de-stress, and detox from their digital lives. One of the ideas I heard was adult coloring books. Now before you laugh, check out these articles on CNN, Huffington Post, the NY Post and the LA Times about the popularity of adult coloring.
So when Free Period Press offered to send me a coloring book, I jumped at the chance to see firsthand what coloring would bring. Lora DiFranco, one of the founders, said they created the coloring book as a result of “not being very crafty” but wanting to spend time away from computer screens and feel creative. After successfully funding a Kickstarter campaign, she heard from people that they were using the books during breaks at work.
I spent a couple of weeks with the coloring book on the edge of my desk and, when I needed a break, I decided to color. Here’s what I learned:
- Old skool isn’t bad. How do I say this? Just because something is old, vintage or retro doesn’t make it bad. Frank Sinatra, Manhattans, and coloring are evidence of this. Conversely, there are some things that are better left in history. It’s about putting things into proper context. It’s okay to revisit pieces of our childhood.
- To be successful, you must have the proper tools. In the case of coloring, you need proper lighting and some good colored pencils. I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy coloring as much as I am. I should have bought the 24 or 48 count package of colored pencils (instead of the 12). The point is, to really get the benefit from anything, you need to have the proper tools.
- Give creativity time. I worked on a page for over a week. Every time I looked at it, I saw something different or I would get a new inspiration. Granted, it’s coloring and I wasn’t under a deadline. I enjoyed taking my time. In a work context, we need to remember that giving people time to think and ponder the possibilities can be valuable. In my book, Essential Meeting Blueprints for Managers, Fran Melmed at Context Communications Consulting offers a brainstorming tip that mentions giving participants something fun to get into the creative spirit. I could see coloring being an option.
- Having a low-tech or no-tech activity is a healthy break from the computer screen. There are studies that say staring at a computer screen all day isn’t good for our eyes. And looking at our tablets right before bed isn’t good for our sleep. Why not color? I loved ending the day with 5-10 minutes of coloring.
- Beware! Coloring is just as addictive as chocolate and computer games. Like I mentioned earlier, I really enjoyed this and will probably color some more. My only question was what do I do with the finished pieces? Maybe the activity is sufficient by itself? When we were kids, our finished coloring went on the refrigerator. I guess you could still do that. But, Lora suggested turning your works of art into cards for co-workers, clients and vendors. Just cut them into the shape and size you want and glue them to thicker cardstock. Also, I can see my finished coloring making for nice binder inserts.
If you haven’t tried coloring, and are looking for something different, give it a try. Check out the Free Period Press site for details. You might be surprised. It takes very little time and money to get started and coloring can offer a lot in terms of creativity as well as relaxation.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby