I attended a luncheon lecture that Dr. Lisa Gundry of DePaul University's Center for Innovation presented recently and she shared the top ten places where new ideas tend to happen:
1. Mowing the lawn.
2. During a church sermon.
3. Waking up in the middle of the night.
6. During a boring meeting.
7. Falling asleep or waking up.
8. Sitting on the toilet.
10. Taking a bath or shower.
Dr. Gundry also shared that she knew people who worked in a corporate culture wherein there was an ongoing competition to appear to be working hardest, such that employees there would try to arrive at work the earliest, leave the latest and seem to be the busiest.
I observed that this was not only a waste of energy, but if ideas tend to come when we are "off task" or not working/doing, then all this busy-ness actually subverts productivity and the discovery of breakthrough ideas.
Albert Einstein was once asked if he had an hour to solve a problem, how he would allocate his time. He responded that he would spend 55 minutes thinking about and clarifying the problem and 5 minutes solving it. (working/doing)
We need to give ourselves permission -- and allow ourselves to do the important creative "work" that we do when we are not working.
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