Can ‘Dozing off’ and ‘Distraction’ be Good for Creativity?

Can ‘Dozing off’ and ‘Distraction’ be good for Creativity?

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Before I go on to explain more about creativity, let me address the question. The quick answer is yes. Now read on to know more.

There’s a pressing emphasis on creativity these days. Every field is looking for innovators. There’s a demand for people who can generate new ways of doing things and for people who can think, ‘out of the box.’ In fact, ‘out of the box’ is a prized and precious sentence in each CV. Of course, by now we all know that creative thinkers are not just the people with paint brushes and word wit, but these are the people in each and every field, who can generate or recognise ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, or in communicating with the others. These are the people who can change the way the world thinks about an issue because they think differently. Now some people are inherently creative, while others learn to tap in to whatever resources they have. Regardless of which category you fall in to, there are methods that you can rely on to enhance your creative thinking skills.

Talk to Someone New

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The first requirement of creativity is that you should be able to view things in new ways or from different perspectives. Creative thinkers can change perspectives easily. However, if you are one of those who finds this task tough, try these.

* Learn new skills

* Travel and learn about a new culture

* Venture in to a new situation or talk to someone new

* Have a conversation with someone whose point of view is different than yours.

We tend to talk to people with similar viewpoints or backgrounds, however, challenging your own thoughts and belief system will help you shift perspectives more often and more easily.


Combine Concepts

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AccordingRichard Foster of Yale university, a key to being creative is to find associations between different fields of knowledge, especially ones that appear radically different at first. The process, he says is iterative and not linear. It requires people with curiosity, energy, and the openness to see connections where others cannot. This is because new solutions are often the combination of two or more existing concepts. Thus, a creative person does not just study one field or is not just interested in one subject, but he or she will be curious about many things, and will use the knowledge in unusual contexts, linking ideas and combining concepts. Thus a concept from Physics can be combined with a concept from Psychology and applied to a management problem. Similarly, a learning gleaned from History can be combined with Literature and applied to marketing. The possibilities are endless if you are creative.


Allow Distractions

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Creative thinking can also benefit from a bit of distraction, especially when your brain is cluttered and you are feeling ‘stuck’. What does distraction do? Distraction shifts the brain to a different gear, by refocusing cognition and eventually allowing related ideas to flow more easily. So go ahead and allow distractions while you are busy solving a problem. However, the key word here is ‘intended distraction.’ How?

* Take a break

* Go for a walk

* Watch something on TV or read something unrelated to what you have been working on

* Talk to someone on an unrelated field

* Exercise

* Do a chore

The list is endless. Do note though that an unintended phone call or a text while you are in the ‘flow’ can hamper creativity. If you are busy being creative, keep your phone away. Similarly, too many ‘intended distractions’ may also be counterproductive as there is a ‘switch cost’ to the change of tasks. So, find a balance and use planned distractions to increase your creative thinking without hampering your creative flow.


Doze Off

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Dozing off and snoozing increases creative thinking. It actually does. Psychologists and creative experts, both will tell you that the most creative answers are available to you when you doze off slightly. This is called dunking, and it’s something Thomas Edison used to do as well. Yes, I am purposefully throwing in this name to underscore the effectiveness of this method. The method works because dunking allows a brief dip in to your subconscious, which is a highly resourceful space. It allows you to capture creative thoughts from a space that is usually underutilised. Your sunconscious (unconscious) is where your brain works the hardest. So, it makes sense to tap on that. Do not forget to keep a notepad next to your bed or snooze chair and do not fully fall asleep. We are talking about the light drifting off and not a full Zzzzzzz.

Different strategies work for different people. So, go ahead and try methods that work for you.