I think the rest of my team thinks I’m nuts. I keep telling them to take breaks! And while I do genuinely want them to take a break because they work hard and deserve them, I do have an ulterior motive. I recognize that if I want them to think creatively, they need down time, and we just don’t get a lot of that anymore. We are always receiving information, constantly connected in some form or another and, unfortunately the brain has not evolved to be constantly receiving information. In fact , some of our best work springs up from those moments when we are not working! Think about how we feel after a vacation, or a day off, or a holiday break. Often we think much clearer and with more focus. Low-information activities are actually a great way to spur creative thought. This is one of the reasons that being in nature can be so therapeutic. It provides stimulation but not in an intrusive or overbearing way and our brains can be processing things in the background.
In the workplace, I think this is important to keep in mind especially for those team members whose way of relaxing may be going straight to the computer to check their facebook pages. Usually the internet is not a place where we would go for limited interruptions, low levels of stimulation, or as a place to disconnect for a moment. It might be wise for us as supervisors, business owners and managers to encourage our employees to not only take breaks throughout the day but during those breaks, encourage a break from technology. Tell them to get outside or go for a walk. Researchers suggest it will keep them sharper, more creative and more focused.
- Heather Parbst