제 1 호 How to be the Ideal Creative Human in Convergence Environments
How to be the Ideal Creative Human in Convergence Environments:
Start with Slow-Motion Multitasking
by Eun-ji Lee, Editor-in-Chief and Sarah Chae, Editor
We want to know how to be creative. How to be innovators. Don’t you want to know how to make ourselves those ideal “Convergence” human resource workplaces that we have been looking for? Albert Einstein produced various and famous studies about the photo electric effect, E=mc2, general relativity, and more. Darwin has left studies about earthworms, the”Origin of Species”, the “Descent of Man”, and more, again. For a long time, scientsts have been working on how some scientists like the two above (highly creative people) are able to go on producing important work right through their lives. Researchers took a look at their personalities and working habits. Just how did they find their productivity and inspiration for their great works?Let’s take a look at what innovators have in common, and how we can do the same.
What is Slow-Motion Multitasking?
Multitasking is doing multiple things simultaneously. Unlikesimple multitasking,slow-motion multitasking is to give oneself a mental rest and ideas by switching tasks. For example, Einstein and Darwin did what they wanted to do throughslow-motion multitasking. How did they realize their goals? Tim Harford, an author, gave a speech about the meaning and some examples of slow-motion multitasking in a TED lecture.
*Postpone Your Task to Win
When you attempt some interesting projects simultaneously, it is good for you to put off the others while you are working on one thing. Switching is as helpful as a rest because to change what you’re doing will bring a new idea to your mind. Einstein and Darwin used this method successfully.
Albert Einstein, “Take it easy.”
Einstein was putting together the pieces of his theory of general relativity, his greatest achievement. He was really exhausted so he turned to an easier problem. He noticed the stimulated emission of radiation. He was finding out the theoretical foundation for the laser beam by injecting the stimulated emission to the stimulated absorption and spontaneous emission. While he was doing that, he also moved back to general relativity and he was refreshed. In this process, he realized the concept that the universe is expanding. Einstein could complete the theory of general relativity based on the concept.
Charles Robert Darwin, a Man who Changed His Study Topics 43 Times
Darwin was a master of slow-motion multitasking. He started writing Transmutation of Species 2 decades before The Origin of Species was published. A Biolographical Sketch of an Infant was the subject planned at the same time as the birth of William, Darwin’s son. However, he presented it when his son became 37 years old. Darwin had studied the creepers and insect-eating plants for about 20 years. And also, he published a learned book about earthworms in 1881. He had studied about it for 44 years.
*Experience Various Kinds of Knowledge
A great idea is born sometimes through unexpected connections in different fields. The next two cases show creativity from the link between various tasks.
The Relationship Between Creativity and Rapid Task Switching
The psychologist Shelley Carson and her student Justin Moore recently conducted an experiment checking the effect of rapid task switching. They made people crack the anagrams* and read an article. The people were divided into two groups. One of the two groups received the tasks in order – first solve the anagrams, then read an article. The other group had to move between the two tasks every 150 seconds. Of course, the second group solved fewer of the anagrams than the first group. And also, they got lower grades on the test of reading comprehension because they had to adapt to a new task every short term.
However, they got high grades on the test of divergent thinking. In this test, there were some questions that ask subjects to recite various answers to odd problems. For example, the participants had to think of as many uses as possible for the rolling pin or imagine a world where everyone has three arms. The participants who belonged to the second group wrote a greater volume of answers. And also, their answers were more creative than the answers of the first group.
The Medical Students who Enrolled the Art Class
A few years ago, researchers took 18 randomly chosen medical students and they enrolled them in a course at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They learned to criticize and analyze works of visual art. At the end of the course, these students were compared with a control group of their fellow medical students. The ones who had taken the art course had become substantially better at performing tasks than the other group.
How to Start Slow Motion Multitasking for Ourselves
We took a look at what slow motion multitasking is, and 2 important ways to do it(recommended by Tim Harford). We also looked at how Einstein, Darwin, and some medical students do slow motion multi-tasking. Now we know that innovators are slow motion multitaskers, so let’s try it for ourselves. Here are some ways to try it out at school, and why you should do so.
Use the School Facilities /Systems or Your Surroundings
Just like the medical students who took an Art course, you can take other courses and broaden your point of view and strengthen your capacities. If you do not have the time to take other courses, choose a liberal arts class that matches your interests. SMU has made a well-balanced liberal arts class system and coding education classes that can help you do that.
Do you want to dig a bit deeper than taking classes? Then take another course other than your major, because the SMU system allows us to have a multiple, linked, or double major. Or do you want to hang out with people who have various majors and dig deeper at the same time? Then make or join a club. Maybe in these other courses or clubs, you can make a new hobby or find new interesting subjects to make a project or research about.
Maybe you want to take a break or postpone your work for a bit. Then you can take a look at exhibitions held at the SMU Museum(Seoul campus), or other exhibitions near the school. If you are a student in the Cheonan campus, take a look at exhibitons or plays held by Art/Design/Acting related major students. It will be worth your time.
How to Stop These Multiple Projects from Becoming Overwhelming – Taking Control
Having many tasks and topics to control can become overwhelming. When that happens, it could be difficult for you to switch them around, making you confused. Below are some ways we can organize these projects and take control of ourselves.
-1 Make a List of Your Projects: The famous choreographer, Twyla Thorp, makes a box for each of her projects (different dance genres) and puts all the things, CDS, idea notebooks, and related into each box. You can make a box too, like Thorp. However, we can’t always have those boxes right next to us. For those people, here is another way to ‘make a box.’ Make a report for each of your projects. If you have enough time, make a report in a proper document form. If you don’t, use a memo application (Naver Memo, Evernote, S-Note etc). Make a file for each project and gather all the ideas and checklists. Checklists are especially good; because you can keep an eye on how much you have got done for each project through steady habits of taking notes.
-2 Put Down Your Phone and Take Control: Turn off all the SNS messages and e-mail alarms that are not urgent. Are you are having a really hard time with putting down your phone? Then try to put your lists of projects into your phone, using the way above. If it is possible, you can try to do your projects with your phones. However, this is just a way to do projects if you spend most of your time on the road, or in environments where you can’t use other data or materials other than your phone. It is not the best way to do any project in the long-run, so I will recommend you to take control of your phone.
Why Slow Motion Multitasking is Good for You
We know that creative people have this point in common, but how can it help us and why is it powerful? Why does it solve problems?
-1 Learning to Do One Thing Well Often Helps You to Do Something Else: If you want to be better at what you do, spend some time doing something else even if the field seems distinct. This kind of cross-training even helped the medical students above with doing their thing well. Those medical students who took art classes were better at analyzing photos.
-2 It Provides Assistance When Stuck: Being stuck on one thing is an opportunity to do something else challenging. Writers with writer’s block and scientists who are stuck take a break. Writers write another book, and scientists change their research topic. Darwin didn’t just make The Origin of Species out of nowhere. As we know from above, he studied his son, earthworms, economics, and many other topics, and this various topic-changing/multi-tasking led him to do successful research. If you are stuck too, take a break or change the topic, just like him.
-3 It is a Powerful Way to Organize Our Lives.
Now, Just Do It. Get to Work:
No project can be done without a start. It is the same for slow motion multitasking. You can’t be doing nothing if you want to multitask. No excuses are needed, just start a project. Do it, yes, let’s get to work.
*Anagram:A word or phrase made by using the letters of another word or phrase in a different order. For example, LISTEN is the anagram of SILENT.
Image by flaticon