I like to think that my job is quite a creative one. Yeah, computers are dull robot machines that aren't capable of intelligent thought (well, not yet, anyway). But the act of programming that computer – telling it (or increasingly, nowadays, teaching it) how to perform tasks that are useful to human beings – is a very creative endeavour.
Unfortunately, creativity is all too often elusive.
The pressure of work, the client emergency, fire-fighting, shopping, your boiler exploding – they all get in the way.
So you have to make time for it.
I now start earlier and work later – but keep a couple of hours in the middle of the day just to myself. Walk the dog, have a slow lunch, sit around. The extra space makes all the difference and when I go back to work in the afternoon, I find I get more done – and the solutions I come up with are better and slicker.
Because, if it's important, you have to make the time for it.