Are we too busy to be creative?

Nowadays, with devices ringing, chiming, vibrating and having bright screens every so often with new messages and new emails, we have little to no time to just be.

Just be…

When was the last time you sat in silence for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or even an hour?

Our connectivity is typically seen to be correlated to productivity, but what if by not being connected, we were able to become creative (or more creative if you already are) and potentially more productive?

We are always so busy, we often don’t let our minds take some time to be still, or meditate. What does meditating have to do with creativity? Meditation affects your ability to focus and increase your working memory.

Here’s a typical scenario: I turned on my laptop ready to start working on a task and all of a sudden my phone vibrates. I look towards it and I see that I received a text, so I take a second to reply. Meanwhile, I’m thinking about what it is that I have to get done and then another text pops up; a reply to my responding text. The next thing you know I start stressing because I feel like I have so many things to try to get done at the same time and I can’t stop thinking about one or the other.

This scenario is something you want to avoid because of its effect on working memory.

“The greater a person's working memory capacity, the greater their ability to resist sensory capture. The limited ability to override attentional capture is likely to result in the unnecessary storage of information in working memory.”[1]

One way to step away from scenarios like above is to meditate. Meditation gives us a way to increase our working memory, which therefore increases creativity.

“[Working Memory] capacity is considered to be a prerequisite for cognitive flexibility, abstract thinking, strategic planning, and processing speed in long-term memory (Baddeley, 2000 and Dietrich, 2004); it benefits creativity for it enables the individual to maintain attention on the task and prevents undesirable mind wandering (De Dreu et al., 2012).”[2]

A big factor is the relationship between working memory and attention.

“It has been found that selective attention which involved the ability to focus cognitive resources on information relevant to goals influenced working memory (WM) performance (Gazzaley & Nobre, 2012). Creative processes largely comprise the retrieval, integration, and retention of knowledge as well as close connections between cues and the activation of knowledge (Yeh, 2011). When WM has more available resources and greater efficiency, creative solutions should be enhanced.”[3]


Start with just 10 minutes daily and build from there.

Wouldn’t you rather avoid the above scenario, and instead experience this: Your phone goes off; you take a second, breathe and continue doing what you were doing. You’re not in a rush to check it; or better yet, you keep your devices in another room when you’re busy with something else. You have complete attention to the task at hand and can feel your creative juices flowing.

Be peaceful and stay creative!

[1] Fukuda K, Vogel EK (July 2009). "Human variation in overriding attentional capture". The Journal of Neuroscience 29 (27): 8726–33.



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