Lately we have been interviewing a group who recently participated in an Edison Event. One of the questions we asked concerned the Edisonian principle(s) they have been applying in their professional or personal life. A frequently mentioned principle was related to the need for quiet time. For most, this was mentioned in conjunction with the desire to be more creative.
Edison did this in several ways:
1. He took short naps in the middle of the day. In fact, his wife, Myna, set up a bed in his office because she thought he looked bad sleeping on desks or tables in the lab (and being photographed while sleeping). He could take naps at work because owned the place and everyone knew he got by on about 4 hours of sleep a night. If we don’t own the place, we’re probably going to have to be more discreet. In any event, taking a strategic nap is good for many reasons. I highly recommend the practice.
2. Edison also had a special room set aside upstairs in the lab that functioned as his thinking room. When he was in this room, everyone knew to leave him alone unless it was a real emergency. When he finished “thinking,” he would often emerge with innovative solutions to difficult problems. If we can shut off distractions for awhile, we will likely find similar results. Some of you are already doing this well!
3. Edison’s familiar quote, “Inventors must be poets, otherwise they will not have imagination,” gives clues to his approach to the use of quiet time. He was known as a fan of Shakespeare and the classics. He also wrote poetry. Speaking of the creative benefits of drawing, Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain said, “Through learning to draw [or by practicing creative writing or developing other creative skills] you will enhance your ability to think more creatively in other areas of your life.”
Many of you are finding quiet time to use in creating new ideas at work or home. I encourage you to stay the course. Keep it going! Good things and great things will come from your persistence and patience.