Release your creative skills by colouring!

Blog post by Minna Huotilainen / The Finnish Institute for Occupational Health

Colouring during intensive listening tasks can improve your focus and concentration. Why not have some colouring books and pens in your coffee room at work? A few minutes of colouring is also a fun way to relax and create positive energy! writes Minna Huotilainen, a research professor at FIOH.

Efficient, well-flowing and good quality work is an all-round win-win situation: employees are motivated, and clients and employers are happy.

But the human mind is a mystery, and reaching a point of high efficiency may require extreme measures, such as, for example, a colouring book!

When work is mentally demanding, as for example knowledge work, measuring and evaluating efficiency is not always so simple.

One “Eureka” moment may save a programmer two weeks of work.

One new idea, and an advertising agency gains a new client. On the other hand, one mistake by a tired worker can prove extremely expensive.

Power of self-assessment

The ability to assess your own physiological state and to be able to influence it has become a key skill in work life.

Staring at a screen through tired eyes, with your thoughts going round in circles benefits no-one.

You should realize that when this happens, you have to do something: stand up, get a glass of water, step out for a breath of fresh air, play some music; anything, so that the physiological state you are in shifts, and the cycle is cut.

Cognition cannot be forced.

Release of cognitive resources

So what does all this got to do with a colouring book?

Colouring in pictures, as many other simple, repetitive, mechanical activities, can release cognitive resources.

Research has shown that doodling, knitting and similar tasks can promote learning, when this takes place through listening, as for example in a lecture.

So, the next time you are on a training course that involves sitting and listening, bring a colouring book!

Colouring in pictures is also a good counterbalance to work tasks, and can be an excellent way to promote creativity during your coffee break, for example.

To increase this creativity and concentration at workplaces, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has published this five-page colouring book of work-related pictures (a PDF-file).



Partner News