This Little Habit Could Stifle Your Creativity

by Bob Walsh

I already talked about becoming more creative a while ago, but there’s another thing you should be doing if you want to increase your creativity: don’t be hooked to your smartphone.

It’s becoming pretty clear that the constant stimulation a smartphone can provide can reduce your creativity.

Brian S. Hall recently blogged about this.

A smartphone is a great thing to entertain and educate you, to connect you with other people in more ways than was previously possible.

But it can also quickly become the thing that always occupies your mind and keeps you busy at all times.

I mean, honestly, how many people now always pull out their smartphone whenever they have a bit of idle time?

The easiest way to avoid boredom is probably to check out your Facebook feed on your iPhone or play another round of Angry Birds.

Boredom is actually the nourishing ground for creativity:

Numerous studies and much accepted wisdom suggest that time spent doing nothing, being bored, is beneficial for sparking and sustaining creativity. With our iPhone in hand – or any smartphone, really – our minds, always engaged, always fixed on that tiny screen, may simply never get bored. And our creativity suffers.

[…]

Edward de Bono, business consultant and self-described “father of lateral thinking” has authored numerous works on creative thinking. de Bono calls moments of boredom “creative pauses,” which allows the mind to drift, and avails the person to new forms of input and understanding.

Boredom may be even more important for children than adults. Spending so much time on gadgets may “short circuit the development of creative capacity” in children, according to educational expert Dr. Teresa Belton. Other education experts similarly suggest that a child’s imagination and creativity is ultimately aided through bouts of boredom.

Now I don’t think you should actively seek out boredom – but simply allowing your mind to sometimes drift into that idle mode where it’s not captivated by some funky iPhone app is probably a good idea.

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