Friday, February 8, 2013

Boost Your Creativity With Simple Acts of Mindfulness.

Boost Your Creativity With Simple Acts of Mindfulness.

Maria Konnikova  

Is "multitasking" impacting our ability to think clearly? That's what author Maria Konnikova believes. She told me that mindless task switching makes it impossible to have moments of clarity where we make deep observations, intuit their meaning and create breakthroughs.
In her new book, Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes, Konnikova reveals how anyone today can channel Arthur Conan Doyle's character to become more more mindful, intuitive, and therefore, innovative in business.

Here are five steps that I picked up from our recent conversation (and Holmes!) ...

Reward curiosity - Most companies tend to reward creativity, she says. 
Instead, if they were to reward to curiosity, it can breed even more creativity. This is not just semantics. One sets the tone for the other

Give employees time to think - Second, Konnikova says that it's ok to be alone with your thoughts. Such mind breaks breed curiosity, create more 
alchemy and cross pollination. But don't just hope that it will happen.
Companies, she believes, should create the environment for mindfulness so that teams exercise their ability to concentrate. (My interpretation of 
this is that it need not be "new age." Simple email free zones can help.)

Learn how to filter information - Data is powerful, but it also can be be smog too. The key to success is to become good at filtering, the author 
believes. This starts with knowing what you're looking for in a broad context and the why. Set goals beforehand and teach your colleagues and 
direct reports to do the same. Be intentional in how using the web.

Get into the flow - Konnikova told me the modern day Holmes portrayed in the BBC program, Sherlock, never answers his cell phone. The reason: it 
would interrupt his flow. The message is simple. Set schedules, respect boundaries and get into flow.

Get closer to nature - Finally, the author says studies show that being in nature aids mindfulness. No time for a bird break? Then get a screen 
saver with trees and water. Even this, she says, can help you take a few moments to focus on the present moment without any distractions. "Its ok to
be alone with your thoughts," she said.

Finally, if you're wondering how long it takes for such simple acts of mindfulness to spur innovation - the answer is, it can happen right away.
 But, what I came away with, is that the real payoff is if you can instil such a culture in a team or even an entire company.

Edited by: Lawyer Asad

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