importance-of-downtime

The importance of downtime

By Lindsey Elias, Marketing on February 9, 2018

Take some time for yourself

Chances are you’ve run into 2018 at 100mph with all sorts of goals in mind. Chasing goals is great, but catching those goals actually requires, at times, a slowdown. It is proven that consciously scheduling downtime moments into your day-to-day routine will offer you a plethora of benefits and help your brain operate at its optimum.

It’s generally well-known that taking breaks from grueling mental tasks can help rejuvenate the brain and reduce stress, but what other proven benefits of downtime have studies unveiled? Here are some important highlights:

  • A 2011 study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign helped put a decades-old theory to rest when it proved that even brief diversions from tasks can drastically improve a person’s ability to focus on the job at hand for prolonged periods of time.
  • A Harvard Business Review article discussing research led by Sophie Ellwood details a scenario where undergraduate psychology students were broken into groups to complete a common task. It was found that the group which had been given a break to work on an unrelated task during the activity was also the one that generated the most ideas.
  • A Study from the University of British Columbia shows that “our brains are much more active when we daydream than previously thought. Activity in numerous brain regions increases when our minds wander, according to new research. Psychologists found that brain areas associated with complex problem-solving—previously thought to go dormant when we daydream—are in fact highly active during these episodes.”

What can you do?

  1. Beware of Monotony

    Tasks that are especially repetitive have a much higher chance of being tuned out by your brain. If these types of jobs are on your daily to-do list, be sure to schedule regular interruptions or “downtime” moments. Step away from your desk, read an article for pleasure, make a phone call or work on something new for a bit.
  2. Practice Mindful Meditation

    Be conscious of your mind’s modes, and of when the brain is focused vs. daydreaming. If you find yourself losing focus, allow your brain a moment to daydream or think about other topics, and come back to the task at hand later. If you are able to clear all distractions and clear your mind through meditation, even 5 minutes of meditation will provide incredible rejuvenating benefits to the brain.
  3. Do some Doodling

    Studies find that doodling helps your mind relax and creatively wander. If you feel mentally fatigued, pick up a pen and paper and make some magic!
  4. Break a Sweat

    Schedule periods of exercise in the middle of your daily routines. Getting up from your desk and taking a short stroll or even doing some under-the-desk leg lifts will not only give your brain some downtime, but will also boost blood flow to the area, helping increase creative thought.

As you pursue your 2018 goals and plan your schedule for the year, remember to consciously schedule restorative quiet time. By viewing downtime as equally important to active work time, you’ll help ensure that the new year will be filled with new ideas and greater success.

Have some downtime tips or tricks that work best for you? Share them with us below!

 


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Lindsey is a proud wife and mom with a passion for culture, travel and carbs. When she isn’t planning her next Disney cruise, she’s usually chasing her dogs, hanging with her children or anxiously awaiting another date night with her husband.



Lindsey Elias, Marketing

As our Marketing Content Manager, Lindsey is passionate about producing quality content. When not at the office or planning her next Disney getaway, she loves hanging with her husband, family and fur babies and indulging in the two c's: carbs & coffee.

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