Alleluyah – The London Sunday Times has discovered unplugging.
‘Welcome to our “always on” society,’ journalist Laura Atkinson informed readers yesterday.
‘Whether we like it or not, we’re now used to “bleisure” (the blurring of business and leisure). Our work lives bleed into our social lives, and being constantly connected — whether to our smartphones, tablets or just the office in general — is par for the course.
What if the constant wall of noise — Twitter, Facebook, email, conversations — means we’re never scratching beneath the surface, where our real creative juices lie?It’s a theory that a raft of new books addresses, including Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.
Martin Raymond of The Future Laboratory says: “the always-on way of living is …stopping …thoughts from bubbling to the surface.”
“You can tap into the subliminal side of your brain easily if you know how,” he says. “Do something where you’re not consciously thinking of something else, like going for a jog or taking time out for 10 minutes. Even if you don’t get a sudden insight, you will get a clearer assessment of things. Put simply, people who take a break at work do better.”
It’s this quiet time that is the key to reharnessing our creativity, it seems. Not only are we now glued to technology, but we’re also surrounded by constant noise, be that meetings, brainstorms or conversation. The book Quie has caused waves with its attack on our loud culture, arguing that introverts, who prefer to work on their own, are more creative within the workplace. Similarly, in Imagine: How Creativity Works, Jonah Lehrer claims that teamwork is overrated and that the brainstorm is the enemy of creativity. And then there is Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work
, by the Harvard academic Leslie Perlow, who has shown that taking time out from computers and devices for a few hours a week increases efficiency and effectiveness.
We’re all feeling the FUD factor: fear, uncertainty and doubt. As the economy falls apart, so our permanently switched-on society, which once seemed so shiny and exciting, has left us stressed and bereft of ideas and inspiration. So now we’re searching for an alternative.
Step forward, then, the new subliminal. Whether it’s taking half an hour out of your day to practise a spot of mindfulness or simply turning off your BlackBerry and sitting in a park for an hour, the new subliminal is the growing trend for stepping away from the daily buzz.
Google is already there with its in-house Search Inside Yourself course. Taught by Chade-Meng Tan, a practising Buddhist and Google employee, it teaches mindfulness in the workplace and has been a huge hit with Google staffers.
The new subliminal is about digital dieting, not detoxing, about having the choice to opt out and back in again when you want. So the next time you go to answer an email at 10pm, take a deep breath, close your eyes and start daydreaming. It’s good for business, you know
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