It’s 2 am in the morning, and Jack is poring over his laptop desperately trying to find answers to a question he has been asking himself all week – “how do I increase sales in the South region?” As the Regional Sales Head of Trinity Corp, he needs to come up with a strategy to increase turnover in the southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh before the conference call with the National Head at 9 am on the same day. However, his mind seems to have stopped working, as he struggles to come up with ways to achieve the desired goal. “This is unlike me”, he thinks to himself as he sips his cold coffee. At Trinity Corp, he is praised for his creativity and ingenuity. When in doubt, his teammates turn to him for his fresh ideas. Unfortunately, the last few days have been terrible – not only has Jack been bogged down by a lot of work, but he also seems to have lost his creative edge. To make matters worse, the herculean nature of his work has left him with almost no leisure time, thereby compounding his feeling of hopelessness. “Perhaps I should just go heat my coffee, at least I’ll get that right!”, he thinks to himself miserably.
All work and no play made Jack a dull boy? Perhaps, but we can still save Jack. You see, there is a certain hack to creativity that young, innocent Jack was not aware of. Want to know what it is? Curious? Yeah? Ok, the hack is this – To be the most creative person in the room, DO NOTHING. Yes, you read that right. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Pretty counter-intuitive right? I mean, who would have thought that doing nothing would help you get more creative? Nobody. That’s why, visit www.justforwords.com for the best insights possible. Ok jokes apart, doing nothing actually has several benefits that go unnoticed because we are so used to working like robots. When we do nothing, we give our minds some time to rejuvenate and refresh before the next big task. “Without this momentary break, we’re less efficient, make more mistakes, and get less engaged with what we’re doing”, as Tony Schwartz of New York Times rightfully points out.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. If your boss caught you doing nothing, it would probably work against you in your next appraisal meeting. Ok, maybe it would serve you better to just smile and wave every time your boss came along. BUT, once she’s gone, just get up and go do nothing – it can be talking to a friend, grabbing a cup of tea, or even chasing the stray cat that managed to enter the office premises. Doing nothing should become part of your busy work schedule. Whether you can invest 2 hours a day, 2 hours a week or 2 weeks a year, the investment pays handsome dividends.
In fact, everyone’s favorite billionaire, Bill Gates is one of the most powerful advocates of the “Do Nothing” rule. Back in the 1980s when Microsoft was in its exponential growth phase, Bill would seclude himself twice a week each year and dedicate this time to doing nothing. He would simply sit around and read books, play around with new technology (his favorite pastime) and think about the bigger picture. Many years later, he would dedicate his success to his ability to disengage from the world and enjoy these “Think Weeks” (as he called them).
Now, let us try to understand how doing nothing can boost your creativity. The thing is, when we do nothing, we allow your brain to disengage from all the thinking, processing and decision-making that it is so used to doing day in and day out. Once disengaged, our brain has plenty of space to inherit new ideas and thoughts, which most of the times arise out of the blue. Interestingly, when we’re not doing anything, we end up triggering unconscious thought processes in our brains. These unconscious processes are adept at matching random pieces of new information that is presented to us (such as problems at work), with the vast database of knowledge (most of which is not consciously accessible by us) trapped in our brains and the information that we are continuously collecting from our surroundings. This process is no different from our computers scanning for viruses when we install a new anti-virus program. The only difference is that the anti-virus returns a list of potential threats to our computer, whereas our brain returns a list of potential solutions to a problem. Thus, when a match is found, something in our brain clicks, and we have our “eureka” moment! – just as Archimedes did back in 214 BC and Newton in the year 1687. They were both indulging in the pleasures of doing nothing.
The best of the best apply this rule, so why should you miss out? Just close your eyes and say this 10 times in your mind – “I will practice doing nothing, no matter how busy I am”.
Pro tip 1– sleeping is considered as doing nothing.
Pro tip 2 – watching TV/Netflix isn’t.
So? How far are you from your “eureka” moment?
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