Ask an Unbusy Person

This story was just published in the Human Resources Report:

Need Something Created? Ask an Unbusy Person to Do It

by Cathleen O’Connor Schoultz

It turns out that idle hands may not be the devil’s workshop
after all, as having some unscheduled time can allow
employees to become more creative, according to an associate
professor of education and psychology at Washington
University in St. Louis.

“Idle time allows people to think of their problems in new
ways,” said R. Keith Sawyer, the author of Explaining
Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation
, an overview of
the history of creativity and of research into traits that
highly creative people share.

Sawyer said that creative people tend to build some
unstructured time into their workdays. When Sawyer talks to
corporations about creativity, he said, he always emphasizes
the importance of making employees take all of their
vacation time.

Sawyer told BNA April 27 his research shows that new
perspectives and meeting diverse people also lead to more
creativity.

Reached on sabbatical in Savannah, Ga., Sawyer said that he
had downtime on his mind because several of his European
colleagues were stuck during the recent airport closings
caused by dark clouds of volcanic ash from Iceland.

Vol. 28, No. 17, 5-3-2010, p. 456

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