Enjoy Your Holiday

As our students and teachers start their summer holiday I would encourage them to take the time to read Anne Murphy Paul’s blog. She has an article called “Leisure is the new productivity.” She has a review of a book by Brigid Schulte, a Washington Post reporter and the author of a new book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time.

This book argues that we are less productive, creative, and innovative than we would be if we had more time off.

Your Most Productive Work is When You Stop!

When we stop being busy we enter a loose, associative mental state in which unexpected connections and insights are achieved. Intuitively I think we know this to be true but Schulte draws on the research of psychologists and neuroscientists. They have found that while we may appear idle while daydreaming or mind wandering, the brain is actually working especially hard in these moments, tapping a greater array of mental resources than are used during more methodical thinking. It enables us to see an old problem in an entirely new light.

Without giving our minds rest and we live on deadlines, feeling stressed, making calls or checking emails we give less opportunity for those connections and insights to be made.

She quotes Mark Beeman , a North Western University professor who says “At work and at school, we expect people to pay attention, to focus,” Beeman observed. “To focus on one thing, you have to suppress a lot of other things. Sometimes that’s good. But sometimes a solution to a problem can only come from allowing in apparently unrelated information, from giving time to the quieter ideas in the background.” This is the reason for encouraging all out students and staff to take a real break this summer but also to build into their working schedule time when they can relax. In College we need that ‘directed, focused attention’ but we also need time when we’re focusing on nothing in particular. “Oscillating” between these two modes—a kind of interval training for the mind—is the best way to reap the benefits of both kinds of thought.

Schulte’s Conclusion

Schulte concludes it is not only from conventional work, but from productive leisure that we create the best environment for learning.

Anne Murphy Paul has more detail on her website but, as we start a summer break , it is food for thought and action or should I say relaxation!

As our students and teachers start their summer holiday I would encourage them to take the time to read Anne Murphy Paul’s blog. She has an article called “Leisure is the new productivity.” She has a review of a book by Brigid Schulte, a Washington Post reporter and the author of a new book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time.

This book argues that we are less productive, creative, and innovative than we would be if we had more time off.

When we stop being busy we enter a loose, associative mental state in which unexpected connections and insights are achieved. Intuitively I think we know this to be true but Schulte draws on the research of psychologists and neuroscientists. They have found that while we may appear idle while daydreaming or mind wandering, the brain is actually working especially hard in these moments, tapping a greater array of mental resources than are used during more methodical thinking. It enables us to see an old problem in an entirely new light.

Without giving our minds rest and we live on deadlines , feeling stressed, making calls or checking emails we give less opportunity for those connections and insights to be made.

She quotes Mark Beeman , a North Western University professor who says “At work and at school, we expect people to pay attention, to focus,” Beeman observed. “To focus on one thing, you have to suppress a lot of other things. Sometimes that’s good. But sometimes a solution to a problem can only come from allowing in apparently unrelated information, from giving time to the quieter ideas in the background.” This is the reason for encouraging all out students and staff to take a real break this summer but also to build into their working schedule time when they can relax. In College we need that ‘directed, focused attention’ but we also need time when we’re focusing on nothing in particular. “Oscillating” between these two modes—a kind of interval training for the mind—is the best way to reap the benefits of both kinds of thought.

Schulte concludes it is not only from conventional work, but from productive leisure that we create the best environment for learning.

Anne Murphy Paul has more detail on her website but, as we start a summer break , it is food for thought and action or should I say relaxation!

Why Leisure is the New Productivity by Anne Murphy Paul