I often have conversations about how little good comes from being distracted. When I step back to look at my busy life, I see a struggle to focus my attention and balance my life.
I am fatigued, and a perfect example to back up recent research showing creativity diminishes when you are constantly busy.
Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin reported in 2014, from extensive study, that daydreaming is important to support creative problem solving. Effective focused linear thinking diminishes with busyness. Boredom and idle time is necessary for balance and to create true inventiveness.
In a time where we are processing exponentially more information than we were 10 or 20 years ago, it is vital to take time for our brain to reset. Creative thinking lives in our brain’s default network. If we never give ourselves downtime, we do not allow time and space for ideas to flow freely. We have forgotten that quiet reflection brings about creative association. We have a tendency to force ideas and rush process and it is damaging our creative problem solving. In our need to get things done we are undermining our productivity.
We literaly change our neural pathways by constantly ‘doing’ to distract and avoid down time. We need the ‘do nothing’ time for our brain to rest and process.
On a leisurely walk in Budapest, Nikola Tesla visualized rotating magnetic fields. Albert Einstein enjoyed listening to Mozart on breaks from his intense thinking.
Make a commitment to create space for doing nothing, meditating, being bored or sitting around. We tend to reach for our phone or find something to distract, because we have trained ourselves to be busy. Most of us find ourselves anxious and irritable when we have no stimulus. We are creating anxiety about the very thing that could be balancing us.
We have too much information and not enough time to process. We suffer from a need not to miss out in anything. Think about the things you feel compelled to do or be a part of that, if you didn’t know about them, your life would not be less. In fact it may be less stress, less anxiety, less pressure, less overwhelm.
Take time to just be: to walk in nature, meditate, sit in the backyard, play a game with a child, sing songs or doodle on paper. If you find yourself waiting for an appointment or a friend: people watch, daydream, count ceiling tiles or follow the pattern in a carpet. Don’t be afraid to do nothing and let yourself be bored, knowing you are heightening your creativity and innovative thinking.