It also doesn’t take much time to undo the detrimental effects of constant activity. When both adults and children were sent outdoors, without their devices, for four days, their performance on a task that measured both creativity and problem-solving improved by 50%. Even taking just one walk, preferably outside, has been proven to significantly increase creativity.
Another highly effective method of repairing the damage is meditation: as little as a week of practice for subjects who never meditated before, or a single session for experienced practitioners, can improve creativity, mood, memory and focus.
Any other tasks that don’t require 100% concentration also can help, like knitting or doodling. As Virginia Woolf wrote in a Room of One’s Own: “Drawing pictures was an idle way of finishing an unprofitable morning’s work. Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.”
Whether it’s walking away from your desk for 15 minutes or logging out of your inbox for the night, part of our struggle is control – the fear that if we relax a grip for a moment, everything will come crashing down.
That’s all wrong, says poet, entrepreneur and life coach Janne Robinson. “The metaphor I like to use is of a fire. We start a business, and then after a year, it’s like, when can we take a week off, or hire someone to come in? Most of us don’t trust someone to come in for us. We’re like, ‘The fire will go out’,” she says.
“What if we just trusted that those embers are so hot, we can walk away, someone can throw a log on and it’ll burst into flames?”
That isn’t easy for those of us who feel like we have to constantly ‘do’. But in order to do more, it seems, we may have to become comfortable with doing less.
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