Table of contents:

How to boost creativity with doing nothing
How to boost creativity with doing nothing

This tool will help develop awareness and come in handy at any stage of solving a creative problem. And for this you don't need to do anything at all.

How to boost creativity with doing nothing
How to boost creativity with doing nothing

Why "doing nothing" and what does it mean?

I've already talked about six tools that you can use to solve complex everyday and business problems that help you creatively solve problems and find cool ideas: associations, empathy maps, scamper, freewriting, PMI and ICR. These methods cover about 80% of the typical creative problem-solving cycle.

Here it is: feeling the problem → formulating the problem → generating ideas and solutions → evaluating and choosing a solution → implementation.

Today we will talk about the tool that I recommend using at each stage of this cycle for a deeper understanding of the situation.

This tool is doing nothing, where "nothing" means nothing at all. Do not watch TV shows, do not flip through the social network feed, do not communicate with loved ones, do not drink tea, do not think …

Doing nothing is stopping and sinking into emptiness. Doing nothing is the realization that there is no need to run anywhere. Doing nothing is a time of contemplation and walking alone, the moment when you listen to yourself. Doing nothing is a whole science.

Eastern practitioners, many philosophical, religious and psychological schools teach doing nothing - awareness and the ability to live "here and now." Doing nothing is an art. Doing nothing is the essence of creativity.

How it works?

Simple and very difficult at the same time.

Simply by its principle: you need to achieve a state of contemplation, as in the case of freewriting. You need to let go of your inner censor and a bunch of problems that he is trying to monitor.

Difficult in practice. You need to get out of your usual rhythm. We are all constantly in a hurry somewhere, doing something, fussing and wasting ourselves. Many try to rationally understand doing nothing and leave themselves no chance of understanding. If you are not familiar with such practices, then the awareness of this state will not come to you immediately. We need training on which you do not have to prove anything to anyone. Just watch the world and yourself, let thoughts and events float by.

What is it for me?

Doing nothing, according to Yitzhak Adizes, a writer and business consultant, is a key prerequisite for change. Doing nothing is your calm mind and understanding of the strategic direction of your life.

Doing nothing will give you:

  • Meeting with myself. With everything at once - holistic and harmonious - or a small part of you: a frightened child, a joyful teenager, a lost adult, and other interesting aspects of your personality. Such meetings are often difficult to experience, but very rewarding.
  • Meeting your desires and interests. You understand what really matters and you put your values and goals in order. You will realize that your current rhythm is a dubious assistant in achieving goals.
  • Understanding the full picture of your development as a person and as a professional. You will see this picture from the outside and understand what needs to be changed.

What are the varieties of this practice?

There are different levels of difficulty depending on the surrounding circumstances.

  • In a calm and quiet environment, such as at home, it's easy.
  • In the park, sitting on a bench or walking is easy.
  • If you are waiting for something, for example, in the queue at the doctor, at the bus stop, at the airport, the difficulty is medium.
  • Traveling by train, subway, plane - medium difficulty.
  • In stressful situations, such as at work, it is difficult.

How to Prepare?

By itself, the possibility of doing nothing does not arise. Have you noticed that even on vacation you are hustling? Because they are crammed with their own plans and schedules. You have to push yourself into a state of doing nothing.

You need three things:

  • The first is to find time. For a start, 5 minutes is enough, but even with this, many of us have problems. After all, we are so busy, we need to constantly do something.
  • The second is the right place. And to begin with, let it be quiet and calm, where no one will disturb you.
  • The third is consistency. The biggest difficulty: you tried it, it didn't work out the first time, and that's it, you decided that it didn't suit you. But remember how you learned to write in school. Thousands, tens of thousands of squiggles in the copy, so that then finally bring out the coveted letter. It was a great experience, and in the end you learned how to write.

How to use idleness to solve a creative problem?

  1. Find the time and place.
  2. Formulate the problem that worries. You can write it down in a notebook.
  3. Turn on the timer for 5-7 minutes. You will need to finish the practice on the timer.
  4. Take a comfortable position, but it is better not to lie down.
  5. Close your eyes and do one of the simple breathing practices (for example, four cycles: inhale through the nose for 5 seconds, hold the breath for 8 seconds, exhale through the mouth for 10 seconds. This helps to relax and saturate the brain with oxygen). By the way, it is not necessary to close your eyes, but for beginners with closed eyes it is easier to start.
  6. Imagine that you are sitting in front of the TV and can change channels mentally.
  7. First, remember something pleasant from your life, soothing: how you sat by a fire in the night as a child, how you listened to the forest or the sound of the surf in the early morning. Breathe calmly, do not cling to thoughts. Realized that you are hooked and are thinking about it for a long time - switch the channel.
  8. Keep watching your "TV" and changing channels until the timer brings you back.

Is there an exercise to help you practice?

Yes. If you have such an opportunity and the situation allows, try doing nothing right now for 5 minutes. If this is not possible, put a reminder on your phone and do it at a convenient time, but be sure to do it today.

Are there any helpful resources and applications?

Of course.

Insight Timer app

Oak app

  • Online course "How to be happy".
  • Article "The art of doing nothing".
  • The Lazy Guru's Book by Lawrence Shorter.
  • Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Paddicomb.