Being dyslexic helps me get creative when I’m under pressure. I count myself really lucky because I’m dyslexic and with that comes a natural aptitude for creativity. There’s a brilliant piece of research that Harvard University did that said dyslexic brains have better peripheral vision, so we’re taking in more data all the time. If you think about humans being the most sophisticated “robots” that exist for taking in all this data, we’re synthesising that into creative thought, and gut feeling and intuition.
If I’ve got a creative block, I go for a row. That’s definitely where my best creative inspiration comes from – when I let my mind drift and go elsewhere. I live on a houseboat called Horace, and I’ve got a rowboat called Little Horace. Going for a row lets my brain wander and start coming up with solutions. I love a good walk, too, and listening to any kind of podcasts and books that aren’t necessarily related to my work.
Mindfulness is massive for me when it comes to getting in the zone. I’ve got a lovely dog. She’s amazing for getting me out. I can get in the zone as long as I get a walk in the morning before I sit down at the computer. I also practise yoga, but perhaps not as much as I should do.
On Sundays I reboot by going to a patch of woodland I own. My husband’s an environmental consultant. We decided to go carbon neutral and looked into offset schemes, but you don’t really know where your money is going. So we ended up buying a patch of woodland on the East Sussex/Kent border. We’re regenerating it at the moment. I put my phone on to airplane mode, and I completely unplug. Being in nature and around trees – we planted nearly 100 oaks last year and I’ve named every single one – it’s like a whole day of mindfulness.
Starting something from scratch is probably the most creative thing I’ve ever done. Scaling up The Dots is a massive rollercoaster. I’ve grown an amazing team, we have nearly a million members and have worked with 10,000 brands [who hire creatives through the platform]. But every day there’s a new problem to solve. It’s incredibly rewarding but a lot of stress. Part of that is having to learn loads of new skills: how to raise investment, how to build and scale a team, how to scale a technology project. All of that I had to learn from scratch.
I’m only focused on the apps I love. I don’t have any notifications on my phone and I only use the apps that bring me value. I’ve deleted everything else. I came off Facebook and Insta[gram] years ago. I didn’t like LinkedIn, which is why I invented an alternative. Audible, I absolutely love. Obviously The Dots. I also love Pinterest. It just makes me happy. Apart from that, it’s yoga apps and tree identification apps.