The Habits of Original Thinkers

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    Posted on Thursday, Jun 22, 2017


    Here’s an idea: Procrastination could make your work better.

    Adam Grant, in his TEDtalk about original thinkers, presents the case that the idea-makers who spend time mulling over various problems and prompts often end up producing the best solutions. According to his research, starting a project too early and not allowing yourself to think about it first can actually be detrimental to its creative quality.

    However, that’s not to say we ought to put aside an assignment and forget about it until the night before it’s due. Rather, try reading it over, and then putting it away for a few days or weeks. Allow yourself to come up with ideas, perhaps jotting them down or keeping them in your brain. It’s okay if the ideas are lame – Grant explains that some of the best musicians the world has ever seen (Beethoven, Mozart, Bach) had to generate hundreds of pieces of work in order to create just a few masterpieces.

    This topic has really stuck with me. I love to be creative and I want to produce quality work, but I am also a chronic “precastinator,” as Grant would say. A precastinator is just the opposite of a procrastinator – I’m always ahead of the game, crushing deadlines far in advance. This is awesome for productivity, but doesn’t always allow me to produce my best work. I can be so obsessed over completing something and crossing it off my to-do list that I forget to produce greatness. Since watching the video (several times over, in fact), I have been forcing myself to let ideas stew before I ever start that report or write that blog. I allow myself to think of many mediocre ideas in order to find the gem. It has been a process that has been both beneficial in my creativity and helpful in my well-being, as I am no longer scrambling to knock out tasks as soon as they’re assigned.

    Greatness takes time! I encourage you to give yourself time to come up with that awesome idea before your pencil ever meets the paper (or your fingers meet the keyboard.)

    By: Katie Kelton, Mays Business School
    Photo Attribution: https://goo.gl/DGBNhg