Sometimes, it’s difficult to take practical business advice and give it a Sahaja meditation spin. However, the Harvard Business Review published an article a few months ago that bears a closer look. “To Be More Creative, Schedule Your Breaks” by Jackson G. Lu, Modupe Akinola, and Malia Mason discusses how your need to be intentional about when you take breaks if you want to be the most creative you can.
The authors conducted studies to find the most productive and fruitful way to generate creative ideas. First, they asked hundreds of people how they would go about solving two problems on a Friday afternoon that require creative thinking. Would they:
- Spend half the time available on one problem and the other half on the second problem?
- Alternate between the two problems at regular intervals such as every five minutes?
- Or switch between the two problems as they saw fit?
Most people answered they would switch between the two problems as they saw fit. For example, people would work on a problem until they felt they were at a dead end or blocked and then switch to the other.
The authors found that if generating the most creative answers was your goal, however, you’re better off alternating between problems at regular intervals. They conducted research published in the March issue of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes that supports this finding. They stated in the HBR article,
“We often reach a dead end without realizing it. We find ourselves circling around the same ineffective ideas and don’t recognize when it’s time to move on. In contrast, regularly switching back and forth between two tasks at a set interval can reset your thinking, enabling you to approach each task from fresh angles.”
They cited in their article two different studies with the same results. The second study focused on generating the most creative ideas rather than solving a problem. They randomly assigned participants to two different groups and gave them the same problems that had no correct answers. Brainstorming the most creative solutions was the goal. One group had to switch between problems at regular intervals, and the other group could change at will.
Again, they found that switching between tasks at regular intervals generated the most creative ideas. And they supported their results with other research studies that reaped the same results.
The crux of the article was to get your best creative work, you need to schedule regular breaks. They don’t need to be long breaks; five or ten minutes will do. But you need to intentionally take your attention away from the creative task at hand to allow your mind to reset. They suggested using a timer and when it goes off, doing something mindless like cleaning your desk.
We suggest, rather than a mindless task, schedule five or ten minutes of Sahaja meditation. Achieving Thoughtless Awareness is the perfect way to reset your mind and come back to your creative work refreshed and reinvigorated. In fact, there are a wide range of other benefits you’ll get by incorporating Sahaja meditation into your daily routine. Read more about them here. More specifically, Sahaja meditation can have a significant impact on creativity.
Sahaja meditation can alter how your brain works to achieve specific self-improvements. It makes your mind both stronger and more flexible, both essential qualities of a creative mind. As a result of meditation, you gain significant health in your professional, spiritual, emotional, and physical lives. And who wouldn’t want to be the healthiest possible in each of these areas?
So use one or more of your scheduled breaks to meditate. If you haven’t tried it yet, sit in on an online guided meditation introductory session. There’s no charge—nothing to buy. You can easily sign up and get started at once.
Let’s leave you with the closing thoughts from the HBR article that should resonate:
“If you’re hesitant to break away because you feel that you’re on a roll, be mindful that it might be a false impression. We tend to generate redundant ideas when we don’t take regular breaks…[D]on’t feel guilty about taking breaks, especially when you are feeling stuck. Doing so may actually be the best use of your time.”