Too much on your mind? Try this technique to release your mind.
Anyone who has sat down to concentrate only to feel their mind pulled in a million different directions knows the power of processing less in order to create more.
In today's busy world, reducing our cognitive load is a technique that can be employed to enhance our creative flow. Researchers from Bar-Ilan University’s Brain Research Centre found that individuals were more creative when they have less on their minds in comparison to individuals who had a lot to think about. A clearer mind equalled more creativity.
How do we reduce the strain on our minds? By using Cognitive Pause and Unload. CPU, a term coined by University of Florida’s Dr. Deshmukh, is a technique that frees attentional space for greater creativity.
Essentially, it is a form of meditation. But rather than an 'empty your mind' type of mediation, CPU is a technique used to 'focus your mind' intensely on the present. The benefits of focusing on the present come from disengaging from other cognitive demands such as built up ruminating on the past and future. By continually redirecting your attention to the present your brain is freed and refreshed to take on creative work.
Neurological research shows that with practice, we can intentionally focus our minds, thereby freeing our minds for creative flow. A focusing meditation technique such as CPU is simple enough to adopt, but what if you can't see yourself meditating at work? Workplace friendly adaptations are easy enough. Why not try these three:
1. Where possible do your most creative work first thing in the morning before the day's demands bide for your attention.
2. Unload all competing thoughts into a notebook, allow your mind to flow freely onto the page. Then, highlight the main focus for your day or select your creative task for the day.
3. Record any important thoughts that spring up, either on a sticky note or reminder list, without directing your full attention to them, here they can be attended to later.
Finally, while you are doing your creative work, stay away from distractions. Take a Cognitive Pause and Unload. Remember sometimes processing less allows you to create more.