I talk a lot about goals, mindfulness, and accountability – but what about goofing off?
I’m not talking about goofing off sitting on the couch staring at a screen, but goofing off doing an activity you love to do and you’re pretty good at.
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of attending the Raising Positive Children Global Author Series at the Mayerson Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio. The first author was Lea Waters, author of The Strength Switch. In her book she talks about free-form attention and its restorative value to our brains.
“Downtime gives us the mental space that allows the brain to dive into itself and uncover what it knows.” – Lea Waters, The Strength Switch
The idea is that participating (goofing off) in activities that you are good at – where you don’t have to focus on the process – engages your mind in a way that it can have free rein. Your brain is still highly active during the activity, but it is resting and consolidating learning at the same time. In effect, the brain uses this time to reorganize and sort information – memory consolidation.
That’s why sometimes when you step away from a problem you’ve been working on for a while, you can sometimes come back and have sudden insight into a solution. While we are “goofing off” our brain unconsciously allows the solution to filter up to the top.
I wouldn’t really call chores “goofing off,” but I sometimes have these aha moments when I’m cutting the grass or doing the dishes.
Go ahead… read a book, shoot some baskets (not any competitive athletics – that takes too much focus), color, tinker with something, build something, craft something, daydream, workout, or do some free association journaling.
Take a little time to goof off and let your brain process all the cool stuff it knows!