“1000+” should be a familiar number for Google Reader users. My RSS feeds have been neglected in past months. Emails from AdAge.com, Creativity-Online, and links from friends go unread and unclicked. I’ve just been running 100 miles per hour at work. This is not to slam my current employer (because I truly like working here), but more of an observation.

If we creatives are always so busy with projects, and never take the time to look up, take off our headphones and find inspiration, our work will suffer. Our work will stagnate. Our work will suck.

So this is a reminder to myself (and to other creatives) to take a bit of time each day to remain inspired. Surf the web. Watch TV. See a movie in a theater. Listen to new music. Read a magazine or a book. Go to a bookstore. Go to a museum. Go hiking.

Eric Baker spends 30 minutes every day scouring the web for inspirational images. He shares them regularly on Design Observer.

And I’ve started to try to gather images and links that delight me in a couple of Tumblr blogs (ELT and ___ is awesome.)

This is also a reminder to managers of creatives: you must let them play. You have to structure your organization and processes to allow creative folks time to recharge and get inspired. Google’s 20% time is a great example of how structuring some R&D/inspiration time can yield results. The Scotch Tape and Post-it Notes were invented by engineers at 3M during their 15% time. Or taken to the extreme, Stefan Sagmeister closes his studio every seven years for a yearlong sabbatical to get inspired again.

Now how can I get someone to pay me for a sabbatical?