March 17, 2014 Practice Points

Making Mind-Wandering Part of Your Multitasking Routine

By Joanne Geha Swanson

Multitasking—the much sought-after skill that enables us to simultaneously fulfill multiple roles and responsibilities throughout the course of a single day—may actually be stifling our creativity. The Wall Street Journal blog “The Juggle” reports that this is because the working memory and executive control required to multitask inhibit the “cognitive processes” that give rise to “light-bulb moments.” The blog cites a 2012 study conducted at the University of Illinois, Chicago titled “Working Memory Capacity, Attentional Focus, and Problem Solving,” which argues that when we are too focused, the “diffuse, open-thinking” needed to develop “new approaches and novel connections” is stymied, 

So multitaskers, pay attention: You must now make time in your daily routine to daydream, exercise, and let your mind wander. For an inspirational how-to, check out WSJ’s “Tactics to Spark Creativity.” Research-supported suggestions include performing simple, routine tasks, gazing at the color green, tackling problems at off-peak times, taking a walk, having a drink, watching funny videos, and the infamous looking out the window.


Keywords: woman advocate, litigation, multitasking, creativity

Joanne Geha Swanson works at Kerr, Russell and Weber, PLC in Detroit, Michigan

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