“…it is well that you should often leave off work and take a little relaxation because
when you come back, you are a better judge.”
Leonardo da Vinci
One book on my shelf that I treasure is called How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael Gelb. It is a gift from my beloved mom, Dorothy. She was a very adventurous spirit and always enjoyed passing things on to me that she felt might boost my creativity.
This book has a wealth of ideas for juicing up your inventive and artistic powers. Here’s one helpful tip: While many of us attach great value to focused, analytical activity when working on our writing projects or doing research, we can overdo “left-brain” intensity. We can actually enhance our effectiveness and pleasure in our work if we take breaks every hour or so.
In fact, recent studies show that when you study or work for 60 minutes and then take a complete 10-minute break, your recall is better at the end of the break than it is at the beginning. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Building brief “mini-vacations” into your work day can make you more productive and improve your concentration. Taking 10 minutes to listen to music, doodle, meditate, gaze at an appealing scene or picture, or do stretching exercises can “promote relaxation and incubation” of your creative ideas according to Gelb.
It makes sense that our minds function best when we alternate between intense, engaging activity and relaxation. Concentrating intently and then doing something totally different, like physical exercise or drawing, gives the mind time to recharge and absorb new ideas. Why not take a few brain breaks today?
I have found that actually taking a one hour lunch break, just like I used to on my “job.” helps significantly, and is needed. However, I also know — and have expereinced — the benefits of taking snippets of time, heading upstairs to have some water, pet the dogs or put them out in the yard, etc — allows me to return to the desk with some sort of clarity, ready to handle a problem more readily, or even continue a draft.
Maybe I should make time for more of these small breaks during my day.
Thanks for sharing your strategies! I think taking a real lunch break for
an hour is a great idea! I also find that taking minibreaks throughout
the day helps me as well. It does clear the head and help the hand.