Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain

Daniel J. Levitin on the benefits of monotasking and daydreaming, for The New York Times

If you want to be more productive and creative, and to have more energy, the science dictates that you should partition your day into project periods. Your social networking should be done during a designated time, not as constant interruptions to your day.
Email, too, should be done at designated times. An email that you know is sitting there, unread, may sap attentional resources as your brain keeps thinking about it, distracting you from what you’re doing. What might be in it? Who’s it from? Is it good news or bad news? It’s better to leave your email program off than to hear that constant ping and know that you’re ignoring messages.

What Makes A Family Of Artists

Another fantastic blog post by Maria Konnikova, for The New Yorker, discussing the studies that explore whether creativity is hereditary or not: 

After a decade of research, [Baptiste] Barbot has discovered that, if we are to understand the hereditary and environmental nature of creativity, we need to think of creativity as a constellation of factors that come together in the right way, at the right moment—“maybe a bit of intelligence, some associative thinking, some divergent thinking, and then some personality traits, like the tendency to take risks, your motivation, and your specific interests.” he said. “These factors are partly genetically based, and, of course, partly environmental.”

 

Tony Schwartz: To Solve Big Problems, Change Your Process

In this 99U talk, bestselling author Tony Schwartz issues a challenge: The world is full of intractable problems like climate change that require new and creative thinking. So how can we use the creative process to take on some of the more serious obstacles of our lives and world? First, we need to be at the top of our collective creative games — and that means fully understanding the creative process.

Schwartz shares the five often counter-intuitive steps of the creative process. Most important, says Schwartz, is that we manage our energy and take time apart from our day-to-day to solve tough problems. As he says, “The place where you get your best ideas is not when you are trying to get the best ideas."

Joi Ito: Want to innovate? Deploy or die.

"Remember before the internet?" asks Joi Ito. "Remember when people used to try to predict the future?" In this engaging talk, the head of the MIT Media Lab skips the future predictions and instead shares a new approach to creating in the moment: building quickly and improving constantly, without waiting for permission or for proof that you have the right idea. This kind of bottom-up innovation is seen in the most fascinating, futuristic projects emerging today, and it starts, he says, with being open and alert to what's going on around you right now. Don't be a futurist, he suggests: be a now-ist.