Multitasking vs. Creativity

Here’s another, unsung reason that multitasking is not so great: it stifles creativity. I’ve been reading Marc Lesser’s book, Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less. He focuses a lot on what “doing” is. Much “doing” is what he calls busyness. It’s extra effort we put in because we feel it’s required, or we’re just not comfortable not doing, or we crave activity of some kind.

Often we multitask by listening to tapes while driving, or talking on the phone while taking a walk. It feels good to get those two tasks out of the way by doing them at the same time. Yet when we’re driving or washing dishes or walking around the lake, we’re not really doing just that one thing.

We’re letting our minds wander a bit, observing what’s around us, feeling the soapy water on our hands. Those are the times when insights come to us. I’m talking about “aha” moments such as the famous one Archimedes had in the bath. And this is not just for artists and scientists. Creativity is important in all facets of life.

The next time your find yourself trying to get too much done in too little time by doing it all at once, remember that if you allow some space, some ease to come in, the answers may come with them. You won’t always have a magnificent brainstorm when you let your mind be quiet. Regular practice encourages your brain to think in new ways and make you more productive without working harder.

Peaceful walking from LaPrimaDonna’s photostream