Let’s be honest, how much downtime do you actually enjoy on any given day? If you feel the constant pull of everything from emails and phone calls to social network notifications and meeting requests, it’s likely you suffer from some form of acute downtime deficiency.
In his article “What Happened to Downtime”, Scott Belsky discusses the value of a concept in psychology known as the creative pause. It’s defined as the ‘shift from being fully engaged in a creative activity to being passively engaged, or the shift being disengaged altogether’.
More commonly, we know it as that point in time when the minute we stop thinking about a particular problem and focus on something else, the solution often presents itself. The trouble is that these crucial moments of downtime and disengagement are increasingly difficult to come across.
Culture of Escapism
The truth is we like to be distracted. We fill our daily lives with lists, to-dos, meetings and the sort because we like to be busy. If we didn’t have these things, we’d be left with some of our more problematic thoughts, fears, and concerns.
The proliferation of the internet and the increasing ease with which we can be connected wirelessly only serves to further compound this problem and consume what little downtime we have left. Over time, this will only become more acute; even the London Underground recently announced that their stations will be wifi-enabled in time for the London Olympics. Other “safe havens” will no doubt be next.
Finding a Creative Pause
It’s perhaps less to do with finding one and more to do with making room for one. To reclaim some of your most creative moments, try:
Deliberately Unplugging – avoid being connected at every single moment in time and let your mind wander to other things aside from the red light flashing on your phone.
Forcing a Change of Scenery – if you’re not finding the solution to your problem by locking yourself in your office or meeting room, step out and change your environment.
Exercising – this is also a great way to feel refreshed and give your mind some much needed downtime.
This is based on Scott Belsky’s original article: What Happened to Downtime? The Extinction of Deep Thinking & Sacred Space.
Photo: used under CC license .
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