As the media keep reminding us, we are working longer hours than ever before. The average Briton now works 44 hours per week, with many people working significantly more than this. Indeed, for a lot of people, long working hours are a badge of pride, demonstrating dedication and commitment. However, could long hours spent slaving away over a hot computer screen be dampening your creativity?

It might sound counterintuitive, but working fewer hours can in fact boost the quantity and quality of your work. One person who understands the connection between free time and creativity is Stefan Sagmeister, co-founder of design firm Sagmeister & Walsh.

In their New York office, Sagmeister has mandated year-long sabbaticals every seven years. This was in response to a worrying observation, as he explains in his TED talk, “Our work started to look the same. So I decided to close it down for a year.” This brave move had the desired effect. When his employees came back from their time away, he found that the adventures and experiences they gained inspired their work for many years after. What’s more, the mandated sabbaticals made financial sense since the firm charged higher fees for their more innovative work. Win win.

Of course sabbaticals aren’t for everyone. However it does illustrate the importance of giving yourself the time to develop ideas in your conscious and subconscious mind. Whether it’s a regular jog, bath or just shutting down that computer screen an hour earlier, make sure you give your brain time to wander and connect seemingly unrelated ideas.