You know everybody needs downtime in order to recharge. But there’s a significant gap between knowing you need downtime, and actually scheduling that downtime. Too many things seem to get in the way: meetings, appointments, business trips, errands, and all the other tasks that fill up a schedule.
What’s the solution? Take back the schedule: book 15- to 30-minute increments of free time into your schedule, and don’t allow anyone or anything to take them away from you. Use that time to reflect, read, jot down some ideas, or take a quick walk. Do not use it to play games on your smartphone.
Not all jobs can accommodate this sort of shift—especially not those that demand workers account for every instant of their time—but those employees involved in professions that require reflection and problem solving can find that downtime is necessary for clear thinking and creative leaps. You can’t puzzle through a complicated problem if you’re busy handling another task. (Lifehacker regularly offers tips on how to use downtime well.)
If you want reinforcement that idle time can lead to cognitive advances, check out the daily routines of some of history’s most creative people—there’s a whole lot of leisure, exercise, and “other” time built into those schedules.
- Take a Look at the Daily Routines of 26 ‘Creative Legends’
- Was Google’s ’20 Percent Time’ Such a Good Idea?
- Employers Worried About Critical-Thinking Skills