Wellbeing Hack 11:

Do (almost) nothing

  • A number of creative geniuses have used hypnagogia – a state of consciousness somewhere between wakefulness and sleep – to solve problems. This is because the unfocused mind can be more creative.


  • Doing nothing at all can lead to rumination which is actually a focused state and so will not lead to creativity.


  • To maximise the opportunities of creative mind wandering you need to use an undemanding task which provides enough focus to stop rumination but enough freedom to allow for creative mind wandering. In other words, you need to do almost nothing.


  • Undemanding tasks should be open-ended (not goal directed) and ideally physical.


  • Examples of good, undemanding tasks are doodling, aimless walking, colouring-in, and staring out of the window while travelling.


  • Doing almost nothing activates the brain’s default mode which, as well as driving creativity, is important for developing meaning, purpose and identity.