Sit Quietly and Think –
As discussed previously, slowing the brain enhances creativity. To continue this thought, before you start any creative task, sit quietly and think for 10 minutes about what you’re going to do. This seems somewhat counterintuitive. Doing nothing doesn’t seem like it would help you be more creative with a task, but it often is. There’s good evidence that it works. Quiet thinking can break the cycle of delay, distraction, and time wasting. Several studies that include an explicit relaxation period have shown that this practice reduces procrastination and increases idea production.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. There should be a clock nearby, so you know when 10 minutes have elapsed. Find a comfortable chair but stay upright.
Once you are in your chair, close your eyes and simply try to put your brain in neutral. Let your thoughts wander and observe what comes up. You might find yourself drawn to think about a particular problem or task or future plan. Let yourself think about it for a few moments but try not to get drawn into a consciously driven set of thoughts. Whenever you notice that happening, don’t panic; simply decide to stop thinking about it and set your thoughts to wandering again.
- When you think about 10 minutes have passed, glance up at the clock. If you are like most people, it won’t be very close to 10 minutes yet. That’s okay. Just close your eyes again and continue. What you are doing is one of the simplest forms of meditation.
- Try to work up to meditating for 20 minutes at a time three or more times per week. Experiment with both concentration meditation and mindfulness meditation. If one of them feels better or easier, then go with that, but also feel free to switch back and forth depending on your mood on any given day.
Keep a journal or notebook close by to capture any ideas that float to the surface. Pay attention. They are gold nuggets.