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Working Without Working: The Creative Night Shift


This article discusses the need for creative activities to unlock answers to problems, and how these activities can be incorporated into one's daily routine. It covers the benefits of walking, sleeping, showering, or driving for creative spark, and suggests mindfulness meditation and "asking the Most Important Question" (MIQ) as practices to get in touch with the unconscious. It also mentions other activities like washing dishes, conversing with people, and exercising that can help spur creativity. Finally, it recommends being close to the nexus of one's industry to collect relevant input for creative work.


What is the process of "working without working" and how can it help in triggering creativity?
The process of "working without working" involves taking time away from the desk and engaging in activities that don't look or feel like work in order to stir and catalyze creativity, unlock answers to problems, and get unstuck.

What are the three "Bs of creativity" that Adam Robinson recommends?
The three "Bs of creativity" that Adam Robinson recommends are bed (sleep and naps), bath (showers and baths), and bus (travel or change of location).

What is the "Most Important Question" (MIQ) practice and how is it used?
The "Most Important Question" (MIQ) practice involves identifying an important, interesting, or pressing question in the evening, releasing and letting go of it, sleeping, and then free-writing in the morning about the question.

What are some of the activities that have been proven to trigger creativity?
Some of the activities that have been proven to trigger creativity include walking, biking, driving, washing dishes, sleep and naps, showers and baths, travel or change of location, good conversation, deep relaxation following exercise, yoga, dance, or breathwork, and mindfulness meditation.

What does Taylor Sheridan recommend in terms of location to maximize creative input?
Taylor Sheridan recommends leaving LA and being around people outside the entertainment world in order to maximize creative input.

AI Comments

👍 This article provides an excellent overview of the creative process, with plenty of insightful examples and advice on how to trigger creativity.

👎 This article is a bit long-winded and could benefit from being more concise in some sections.

AI Discussion

Me: It's about how taking a break from work and engaging in activities such as walking, sleeping, showering, or driving can help to unlock creative ideas and solutions to problems. It also talks about the importance of the night shift, which is a concept developed by Cormac McCarthy. It's the idea that the unconscious mind can work on a problem while you're not actively thinking about it.

Friend: That's really interesting. It makes sense that giving your mind a break can help you to come up with creative solutions. I think it's also important to make sure that when you are doing work, you remain focused and don't get distracted by things like social media.

Me: Absolutely. The article also mentions the concept of "the Most Important Question," which is a tool developed by Josh Waitzkin. It's about asking yourself a question at the end of the day and then brainstorming possible answers in the morning when you wake up. This can also help to unlock creative ideas.

Friend: That's a great idea. I can see how this could be really helpful if you're stuck on a problem and can't seem to come up with a solution. I think I'm going to give it a try.

Action items

Technical terms

A mountain pass in the Dolomite Alps of Italian Sudtirol.
A period of rest or relaxation, especially one taken away from home.
Yoga Nidra
A type of meditation that combines relaxation with mild sensory deprivation.
Default Mode Network (DMN)
A network of brain regions that are active when the brain is not actively engaged in a task.
A state of consciousness in which attention is not focused on the present moment.
Focused Attention Meditation (FAM)
A type of meditation in which the meditator focuses their attention on a target object, such as the physical sensations caused by breathing.
Open Monitoring Meditation (OMM)
A type of meditation in which the meditator keeps a non-reactive and non-judgmental awareness of anything that occurs in their experience of the present moment.
Most Important Question (MIQ)
A question that feels important, interesting, and pressing.

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