Our discussion centered around a post from The 99 Percent entitled What Happened to Downtime. In it, the author discusses how before constantly-connected technology sparked its way into our lives, we used to have a lot more downtime â€” time to let our minds wander, rather than stay consciously focused. Now that we have smartphones and ubiquitous internet, that downtime is instantly converted to productive time, and our creativity and quality of life suffer as a result.
Give Yourself Permission to do Nothing
This is a thought Francis mentioned in passing that really resonated with me, because it’s really the core of what I was getting at on Monday and what The 99 Percent is referring to as well. We’ve reached a point in society where, by default, you are expected to be doing something productive all the time*. We really have to force that disconnect, that chance to think passively and reflect and really free our minds of intentional thought.
The 99 Percent piece elaborates quite a bit on the benefits of disconnect, and offers some suggestions for working these important breaks into your life. It’s a great read, you should really check it out.
* Francis notes (correctly) that there is a cultural bias here. In many other cultures, it’s common to do nothing for a few hours at a time; something that is easily seen as lazy or unproductive here in North America.