“It is my belief, you see, that thinking is a double phenomenon like breathing.” – Isaac Asimov
In life and work — our attention has become infinitely divided.
Because of this, we must become acutely aware of the need to leave room for our minds to ponder and expand. To let go. To make connections and settle internal arguments. To create.
However, the ultimate justification rests deep within our brains.
While we possess the ability to switch between tasks — we simply do not have the ability to attend to all of them effectively. (Research at Stanford has shown that heavy multitaskers have trouble mastering even the simplest of tasks.) Often “down time” is the difference between solving or struggling with a problem. As further discussed in this article, you truly require unstructured time to let your brain flourish.
So, I’d like to pose the question: Are you carving out devoted time to let your brain rest?
A daily walk may be just the mechanism you need.
Some of the most incredible individuals of the last 400 years, spent a portion of their time walking. (See Mason Currey’s, Daily Rituals below). While their areas of expertise were varied (and remarkable), there was one link among many of them: From Milton to Tchaikovsky, many set aside time for a daily walk. A few ventured alone. One with family.
Shame on us — we know better.
Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Digestion. I’m not referring to gastronomy — I’m referring to all of the information you’ve taken on-board today. It’s difficult to see patterns and develop linkages when your brain isn’t allowed the time to process effectively.
- Fresh air. I love my office, but a change of scenery does help me to feel rested and refreshed. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a beach or a handy mountain range to view, as some of my colleagues. But the breeze is just as refreshing here in the mid-west — the birds just as vocal.
- Lowered anxiety. With our busy work lives comes our unshakable friend, anxiety. Physical exercise has great way of managing this nagging work life by-product.
- Device reprieve. Not sure how much time you must spend in front of a computer or with a cell phone perched to your ear — but I do a lot of my work on-line. At times, I simply forget there is more to life than Power Point.
Commit 20 minutes each day this summer to get out and walk. Whether it’s a stroll around your office building, a nearby park or a quick trek to grab lunch and back, I challenge you to do so.
Take a tip from Amadeus Mozart and keep paper and pencil handy.
Write us here and let us know what happens.
Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals:How Artists Work gives us a glimpse into the lives of many creative giants.*
(Click on photo to learn more.)
Want to read more about this topic?
Problem Solving and Rest: Another Look at the Eureka Phenomenon https://marlagottschalk.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/the-psychology-of-effectiveness-another-look-at-asimovs-the-eureka-phenomenon/
Marla Gottschalk is an avid blogger and Industrial/Organizational psychologist. Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics — it is designed to share lessons learned, from a variety of perspectives.