When the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist studied the lives of the most-creative people across a variety of fields, they almost always found visionaries who were introverted enough to spend large chunks of time alone.
The problem is that we often feel that if someone is spending a lot of time alone there is a problem. Moreover, our highly technologically integrated society creates many interruptions that not only disrupt our alone time but also our creativity. Combine these with the prevalent, but incorrect belief, that brainstorming is the key to the creative process, and we often will experience a critical lack of alone time.
While numerous other benefits to being alone exist, some are afraid of it. All of this is to suggest that we are quite schizophrenic when it comes to seeing the value of alone time. This only makes using it for creative purposes emotionally difficult.
Therefore, in the workplace, we need to be respectful and understanding of people’s alone time:
- Closed doors don’t imply rudeness, unfriendliness or uncaring.
- People require time to get their work done, including contemplative work associated with innovation and creativity.
- As managers, we need to give our people the time alone to do the work we’ve delegated.
- We need to encourage – even schedule – alone time for people prior to moving to the brainstorming aspect of the creative process.
- Working offsite, away from interruptions, becomes a valid alternative for people.
So, to enhance creativity and innovation in our businesses, our people need alone time. That includes us.
- How to Make Group Brainstorming Effective
- Linking Disruptive Innovations and Disruptive Personalities
- How Work Pressure and Fear Affect Innovation
- Creative Innovation (Pt 4): Spontaneity & Frequency
- Creative Innovation (Pt 5): Employees Running into Each Other
- Creative Innovation (Pt 6): People Mix
- Creative Innovation (Pt 7): Conflict
- Creative Innovation (Pt 8): Guidelines over Rules
- Creative Innovation (Pt 9): Pessimism’s Positivity
- Creative Innovation (Pt 10): Information & Interruptions
- Creative Innovation (Pt 11): Quantification Restricts Creativity
- Creative Innovation (Pt 12): Associative Thinking
- Creative Innovation (Pt 13): Overcoming Biases
- Creative Innovation (Pt 14): Time Alone
- Creative Innovation (Pt 15): Prototypes as Obstacles