If you’ve not read the excellent post on W+K’s blog about cognitive deficit, then do.
The same thought regarding mental recovery time has been mulling around in my head for months. And yes, ironically I’ve been too busy being Creative to even blog it. In the past we were told our brains would shrivel away if we spent so much time being idle. But now, with permanent connectivity and the social society, the time vegging out which we filled in, now means we’re actually missing out.
This down-time watching TV or reading a book, or doing nothing at all is where we get to rest our brain. We allow it to defrag, tidy up, rearrange the bits thrown in during the day and empty our mental trash can. Our brain can then spruce up this new free space ready for fresh new information.
All of this then allows our thoughts to wander into unknown territory. Which for a creative is essential. If we don’t, our minds end up like our lofts – stuffed full of old bits of rubbish, boxes of old screws, manuals for things long gone, little of which is of any real use.
But I can’t find the off button.
Many people though find it difficult to switch off doing nothing, I admit, I’m not very good at doing nothing. My idea of switching off usually involves activity. I volunteer as a Scout Leader, I love hill walking, and each day before work I go to the Gym. This non-professional activity allows my mind to focus on other things, and as a consequence, let my mind switch off. That’s all great, but without the ‘doing nothing’ time we miss, and sometimes feel guilty about, we don’t allow that time I talked about where we get to tidy up and power-down our brains.
Pull the plug out then.
So tonight, switch off. Switch off the iPhone, log out of your social spaces, put the mobile in the bedroom and tell everyone you’re too busy to go out. Busy doing nothing. Which is, as it happens, as important to our career and soul than actively doing something.
Now where’s the App for that?
Other related posts:
New York Times: Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime.
Also worth flicking through the comments on this one