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Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates both do this mundane chore that may have significant mental benefits

CNBC International 2017-11-10 22:17:14

Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates may be two of the richest men on the planet, but that doesn't mean they're above doing the dishes.

Both billionaires say they take care of their family's dirty plates and glasses every night.

In a 2014 interview with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget, Bezos said that doing the dishes is a part of his daily routine.

"I do the dishes every night," said Bezos, who's worth more than $72 billion. "I'm pretty convinced it's the sexiest thing I do," he joked.

Gates, who is still the world's richest man despite having been briefly eclipsed by Bezos earlier this year, not only does the dishes ever night, he enjoys it.

Chesnot | Getty Images Bill Gates, the co-Founder of the Microsoft company and co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

When asked in a 2014 Reddit Ask Me Anything, "What is something you enjoy doing that you think no one would expect from you?" Gates, who is now worth some $86 billion, replied "I do the dishes every night — other people volunteer, but I like the way I do it."

While both businessmen have their own individual reasons for doing the daily chore, science suggests they may be on to something. Multiple independent studies have found that doing the dishes can reduce stress and boost creativity.

Maskot | Getty Images

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.

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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 provide the same opportunity.

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.

This is an update of a previously published article.

Check out: 3 science-backed reasons having a hobby will help your career

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