Although the two-hour rule has been applied to politics and food, its connection to creativity gave me pause. In his article for The Business Insider, Zat Rana proposed implementing a two-hour rule: just thinking with no distractions for two hours a week.
In politics, the U.S. Senate gained attention last year when Sen. Schumer from New York refused to waive the rule for a nomination.
In food, five seconds may be the time you allow to pick up a tasty morsel dropped on the floor, but two hours rules when leaving some refrigerated foods at room temperature. It takes time for food poisoning bacteria to grow to unsafe levels.
In prompting imagination, Zat Rana cites the two hour rule – read the article here – to nurture creativity. All this time I thought lying on the sofa staring at the ceiling was my avoidance technique when it was the same application of the two-hour rule used by Einstein and Darwin, among other great thinkers.
Rana suggests a few questions for reflection during those two hours: a few caught my attention:
- “Am I excited to be doing what I’m doing or am I in aimless motion?
- What’s a small thing (that I could do?) that will produce a disproportionate impact?
- What could probably go wrong in the next 6 months of my life?”
Probably best not to dwell on that last one.
“Time to think” is not a new idea. My mother often ranted she had none; my graduate students claimed they needed more. Like setting aside moments for meditation, hours for thinking may seem easier for some, a worthwhile pursuit, but wasted moments for others.
For those of us who easily fall into quiet reflection, now there is a better excuse.
One of my former CEOs was a big believer in think time. He wanted to see “white space “ on his printed calendar. He didn’t want meetings scheduled all day long (thus seeing black print on his calendar) and advised his assistant to manage his time. He wanted time to think. I would often see him in his office looking out his window in deep thought.
Thanks for your comment. I can appreciate the value of white space, especially on those overbooked days.
I’ve often thought that when I was working – and really needed time to think – it was impossible to find the time. Now that I have, presumably, less need for it, it’s one of the greatest pleasures of my life!