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Why Bill Gates loves doing the dishes every night

Marguerite Ward
Ben Nelms | Bloomberg | Getty Images. President-elect Donald Trump has an opportunity to establish "American leadership through innovation," Bill Gates tells CNBC.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) founder Bill Gates may be the world's richest man, but that doesn't mean he's above doing the dishes.

In fact, Gates makes time to wash his family's dirty plates and cups almost every night.

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything in 2014, the billionaire said that he finds the chore enjoyable.

When asked, "What is something you enjoy doing that you think no one would expect from you?" Gates replied, "I do the dishes every night — other people volunteer, but I like the way I do it."

It's not just a masochistic quirk of the tech mogul's. Science suggests he might be onto something.

Studies have found that doing the dishes can reduce stress and boost creativity.

A Florida State University study found that students who were primed to be mindful while washing dishes (i.e. focus on breathing and the touch, smell and feel of the task) saw a decrease in their stress levels and a boost in inspiration. Concentrating on the feeling of the warm water or the smell of the soap stimulated the brain.

Another study by the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that doing mindless tasks allows the brain to wander and engage in creative problem-solving.

For instance, people who first completed a "boring" task, like copying numbers from a phone directory, were able to think more creatively afterward, according to a study by the University of Central Lancashire.

Think about it: When do you get your best ideas? Is it when you're at your desk willing them to come? Or is it when you're mindlessly taking a shower or working out that a brilliant thought suddenly pops in your head?

The less-than-thrilling process of doing the dishes could be the same.

So the next time you see a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, follow Gates' lead and dive in. The task could help you feel calmer and more creative.



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