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Want more big ideas? Turn off your phone

Want more big ideas? Turn off your phone and let your mind wander. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Happy at Home, has a rule for herself when she’s traveling from one place to another, whether it’s by foot, taxi, or subway. She turns off her phone. No checking e-mail, texting, surfing the web, or talking.

In an interview with author Daniel Pink, Rubin said she used to force herself to check e-mail in an effort to be more efficient.

“Then I thought back on my life as a writer,” she said. “Every time I had a major idea that made me write a book about a subject or led to a year-long obsession, I was walking, on a bus, or on a subway.”

For Rubin, this travel time, often spent staring out the window, is important thinking time.

Rubin decided that if she was checking her e-mail all the time, she wouldn’t have another big idea. We need time for loose association, daydreaming, where thoughts combine, she said. Some people get this time for mind wandering in the shower or shaving (water can be a huge factor in generating ideas).

“You have to allow yourself to wander and let yourself have this down time. If you’re too occupied, there’s not time for anything original to spontaneously combust.”

To listen to the interview with Rubin, visit Dan Pink’s website page, Office Hours. You’ll also find other interesting interviews with the likes of Seth Godin and Marcus Buckingham. Pink is the author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and A Whole New Mind.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. sprinklesofchatter #

    This always works for me.
    Sometimes, I’ll leave home and sit at a park or coffee shop just to watch the world pass me by.

    November 16, 2012

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