For creative people, doing nothing may seem like a waste of time. For someone who loves to optimize, this was a hard one for me to comprehend - but now its a daily practice that offers major results. Studies have shown that taking time to do nothing can actually be beneficial for your creativity and overall wellbeing. When you give yourself time to relax and rejuvenate, you are giving your brain the chance to recharge. This can lead to more productive and creative thinking in the long run.
What The Science Says
A study done by the University of Central Lancashire found that people who took part in activities such as reading, walking in nature, or listening to music had increased levels of creativity. The study also found that people who engaged in these activities had lower levels of anxiety - a known creativity crusher.
Another study, this one done by Stanford University, found that employees who were given break times not only had increased productivity but also came up with more creative solutions to problems. The study showed that the employees who were given breaks were able to come up with more flexible thinking and were better able to find new perspectives.
One way to incorporate more downtime into your busy schedule is to set breaks for yourself throughout the day. This could be a 10-15 minute break in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Something simple and calming such as lighting a candle and listening to music or getting outside for a quick walk and some vitamin D. You could also consider a ten minute mindfulness meditation through apps like Open or Ten Percent Happier.
Another way is to set aside some time each week specifically for relaxation. This could be an hour or two on Saturday or Sunday where you don’t allow yourself to do any work-related tasks. During this time, you can do whatever you enjoy doing whether it’s watching a movie, going surfing, or trying a new recipe.
Personally, I approach my "nothing" time when in the morning at the gym and in the evening with a bath. My early morning workout gets the blood pumping and jump starts my creative juice. While my evening bath really helps me down regulate and quiet my mind.
Creative people often feel like they need to be constantly productive in order to be successful. However, studies have shown that taking some time each day or week to relax and do nothing can actually optimize your mindset, increase creativity and productivity in the long run. So next time you’re feeling creatively blocked, take some time for yourself and see how it benefits your work!