Why procrastination can help fuel creativity

Why procrastination can help fuel(ˈfyo͞o(ə)l) creativity

There’s strong evidence that creative insights need time to percolate(ˈpərkəˌlāt) – and that the right amount of distraction(dəˈstrakSH(ə)n) may be key to innovation(ˌinəˈvāSH(ə)n).

By Loizos Heracleous and David Robson

If the history of creativity teaches us anything, it is that great ideas often come when we’re least(lēst) expecting them. Consider Wolfgang Amadeus(əm) Mozart(ˈmōˌtsärt), who described how new melodies(ˈmelədē) would arrive while he was eating in a restaurant, walking after a meal or getting ready for sleep at night. “Those that please me, I retain(rəˈtān), and even hum(həm); at least, so others have told me,” he wrote. “It seems to me impossible to say whence((h)wens) they come to me and how they arrive; what is certain is that I cannot make them come when I wish.”

It’s not just Mozart who experienced this phenomenon(fəˈnäməˌnän); the French(fren(t)SH) mathematician(ˌmaTH(ə)məˈtiSHən) Poincare described how his breakthroughs(ˈbrākˌTHro͞o) occurred while travelling on the bus or walking by the seaside, while Agatha(egə) Christie(ˈkristē) reported that ideas for her crime(krīm) stories often came while washing up or having a bath. “I don’t think necessity(nəˈsesədē) is the mother of invention,” she wrote in her autobiography(ˌôdəbīˈäɡrəfē). “Invention, in my opinion(əˈpinyən), arises(əˈrīz) directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness(ˈlāzēnəs).”