The Science Behind Downtime and Creativity - Carney
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The Science Behind Downtime and Creativity

We asked you guys, “do you think you give yourself enough downtime?” And these were the results:

  • 41% – Sometimes. But not as much as I need.
  • 33% – WTF is downtime??
  • 26% – Yes. I make it a priority.

So almost 75% of you are not getting enough downtime in your life. Well, science is saying you gotta do something about that. And that something is nothing. It is essential to make time to do nothing so you can stay sane, maintain your creativity, and boost your productivity.

Downtime is a big part of work-life balance that many people are neglecting, especially in creative industries. Marketers, creators, developers, and everyone in between get stuck in cycles of work, work, work, and then maybe some play, but no actual breaks.

The Definition of Downtime:

Downtime is unstructured time with no goal in mind and no targeted focus of attention.

Have you been doing downtime wrong? Podcasts, TV, and background noise might be our great ways to escape or speed up tasks, but experts say that doesn’t count. They suggest embracing the mind-numbingness of a task to give your brain a chance to chill.

The Science of Doing Nothing:

Studies show that thinking relies on two different brain networks, each with its own way of processing information. So how do you make them work together?

Brain network number 1 is the central executive network. This is the task and goal-oriented part of your brain. Brian network number 2 is the default mode network, also known as the imagination network. It comes to life when you’re not paying attention to anything in particular. Hence what makes downtime so important.

To get the most out of your networks, you have to let go and let your imagination network activate.

We get it. That’s not an easy thing to do in this busy world. Check out the full Forbes piece to learn more about ways to embrace downtime and the science behind supporting your creativity by doing nothing.


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