Is Being Busy Permanently Reducing Our Capacity to Think Deeply and Creatively?
One of the reasons why autonomous cars are excellent is because they will decrease accidents that are a result of drivers getting distracted. It would be good if we were not distracted.
One important skill we need to master is the ability to shift between daydreaming and focus. This skill is lowered because of constant busyness.
According to Emma Seppälä, we need to balance linear thinking. Being able to shift between linear and creative thinking is a way to do good work.
And, Daniel Levitin is a neuroscientist who shares Emma’s thinking. He mentioned something similar in “The Organized Mind,” 2014. When we are overloaded with information, we are caught up in noise.
Back in 2011 Americans consumed 5 times information as before 25 years. When we are not at work, we process over a hundred thousand words per day. So, this results in us being less creative and having less willpower.
According to Levitin, linear thinking belongs to the central executive network which is the human’s capability to focus. And, creative thinking belongs to the default mode network.
Daniel says: Artists recontextualize reality and offer visions that were previously invisible. Creativity engages the brain’s daydreaming mode directly and stimulates the free flow and association of ideas, forging links between concepts and neural modes that might not otherwise be made.
Thinking in a creative way needs you to hit the button ‘reset’ in order to make some space for meditating, lying, and resting. Sadly, this is not possible because we are not working, we are using our phones. As it seems, our brains are accustomed to being constantly stimulated.
So, when we do not have something to do, we become irritated. In other words, we are addicted to being busy all the time.
But, do you know that is not good for your life? Seppälä says that many people with great minds in this world, made significant discoveries while they were not doing anything. For instance, Tesla got the idea of rotating magnetic fields while he was walking in Budapest.
Einstein enjoyed listening to Mozart while he was taking a break from thinking. Michael Harris says that boredom is an important tool in today’s world. More precisely, he reports:
Perhaps we now need to engineer scarcity in our communications, in our interactions, and in the things we consume. Otherwise, our lives become like a Morse code transmission that’s lacking breaks—a swarm of noise blanketing the valuable data beneath.
If you want to learn how to get offline when your friends, bosses, and colleagues want you to be online, read Seppälä’s suggestions.
- Leave your phone and take a walk. Make this a routine.
- Forget about your comfort zone, do something different.
- Include games and fun in your time.
- Make a difference between the work that needs focus, and the work that demands less attention.
The author of Deep Work, Cal Newport, recommends the last one as well. He is not using social networks, and he checks e-mail only one time a day. When we are online, we are wasting time that can be used to be focused on projects.
According to studies, being afraid to miss out on something increases anxiety levels and damages your health. Creative thinking suffers the most. It is not worth it to lose your creativity just to see what some totally meaningless tweet says.