Shuffling cards: a mindless activity to enhance creativity

Many people have mindless activities they engage in when they need to think. Some shoot hoops, others go for a walk, and I shuffle cards. I keep five decks of cards at my desk for the sole purpose of giving me something mindless to do when I need to formulate a post idea, work through a problem, or figure out whatever it is that has me stuck with my writing. I know I’m not alone in my shuffling (or walking or hoops playing) or really wasting time, because scientists have found that a little mindless activity actually enhances creative work.

However, visual clutter distracts me from my work, and can even get me feeling uneasy. As a result, I must have a tidy work area, free of extraneous stuff. Therefore, I have to keep the cards stored nicely in their packs and in a contained area so they don’t interfere when I need to stay focused on my mindful work. (There are organizers that hold as few as two decks to thousands of cards.)

We’ve talked in the past about filing being a good mindless activity to let you accomplish a to-do item on your work list, while not focusing on mindful work. Scanning, sorting, and shredding are other mindless, yet productive tasks. Shuffling cards doesn’t help me get anything else off my to-do list, but it certainly helps me think and solve my work problems, so I’m not about to give it up. What mindless activities do you do to help you think and enhance your creativity and overall productivity at work? Also, how do you organize any stuff related to your mindless activity? Alternating between mindless and mindful activities is great, so if you don’t do something right now, check out comments from our readers to see if there might be a mindless activity that is perfect for you.

5 Comments for “Shuffling cards: a mindless activity to enhance creativity”

  1. posted by Gail on

    I clean things. My husband plays solitaire online a he waits for downloads. My daughter files her nails or blows soap bubbles when stopped in traffic.
    All of us eat!

  2. posted by Gail on

    I forgot: when my wheels are really going too fast and I need to sort things out, I color or doodle.

  3. posted by David Caolo on

    Doodling for sure. When I was in college, I’d find myself doodling in the margins of notebooks while studying in my room. It was a fun thing to do while memorizing this or that for a test.

  4. posted by Nancy Olivier on

    I’d forgotten how solitaire got me through panic attacks in college, and I started playing it again when I got my iPhone. It’s soothing during my work commute and helpful in my painting studio.

  5. posted by Debbie on

    Thanks Nancy Olivier! I need to distract during my panic attacks and I’m going to give Solitare a try! Staring outside is a way I use to relax and get motivated to do work.

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