Harnessing your multi-tasking superpower
How do you stay productive and think creatively when all your mind seems capable of doing at half three on a Tuesday is scrolling through Buzzfeed to find out what kind of cheese you are?
You could try working in new surroundings. Having a glass of water. Getting some fresh air. Popping on some classical music… Or even turning the lights off – Steidel and Werth have conducted research into the effects of light and dark on creative performance, and their findings suggest that darkness can create a ‘visual atmosphere’ capable of loosening our thoughts and nudging our minds into an exploratory mode.
These are all sound short-term hacks, but what about a longer-term solution? Economist and journalist Tim Harford has spoken extensively about the potential of ‘slow motion multi-tasking’ in his Ted Talk “A Powerful Way To Unleash Your Natural Creativity”.
Essentially, this process involves having multiple simultaneous projects on the go which you can flit between as and when you need or want to, over days, months and years. A kind of productive procrastination which allows your brain to process information and for your endeavours to cross-pollinate and inspire each other.
There are a couple of small caveats to this though. Firstly, the nature of the projects you’re moving between need to actually engage your mind (stalking Love Island contestants on Instagram doesn’t count). Secondly, this isn’t a quick win. Multi-tasking is often a last resort for when time is tight, but this is the opposite approach. You should be aiming to give your mind the space to actually expand and think thoughts.
Harford sums it up nicely, saying… “It’s easier to think outside the box if you spend your time clambering from one box into another.”
Written by:Leah Groom
Category:What we think
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