In today’s world, a huge premium is put on staying busy. How many hours are you working? How much are you getting done during those hours? What are you doing that’s productive when you’re not working?
These questions aren’t necessarily bad. You want to make sure you’re making progress towards goals. But that mad sprint is a double edged sword. If you pack your day full of nothing but work, you might be doing a lot more harm than good in your pursuit of excellence.
The issue is compounded when stress enters the equation. Things like writers block, for instance, can be even worse for someone facing hectic deadlines or internal pressure because it creates a potent sense of urgency. That just makes the problem worse.
As Dr. Christine Carter, senior fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, explains:
We may — mistakenly — think that nothing much is happening in our brain when we aren’t consciously doing something, certainly nothing much of importance is going on. But our brain actually lights up like a Christmas tree when we’re daydreaming. Many brain regions become active in this situation, far more than when we are focusing.
When we daydream or relax our focus, our brain begins drawing connections between all the things that it previously didn’t see as being all that connected. Most importantly, the brain networks responsible for creative insight come online.
In other words, the best thing you can do when you run into a creative wall is to stop trying so hard to do, unless you’re trying to do nothing. That’s the fastest way to let your mind recalibrate and begin firing properly on all cylinders. It might be a bit of a challenge at first, but you’ll thank yourself for the reprieve later.
But really, you should be working that sort of downtime into your schedule way before you hit the creative wall. The up and down of stressing yourself out and then trying to decompress is probably making you less creative and productive overall.
Luckily, the weekend is just around the corner. Sounds to us like the perfect time to turn over a new leaf!
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