by Deanna Tharpe, DSAIA Executive Director
Downtime. Do we really have it anymore? I read a very interesting article on that topic recently. I guess I had not really thought about it much, but now it’s really on my mind. The article pointed out that with our continual link to the outside world, “downtime” may become a thing of the past. Think about it…email, texts, tweets. They can get to us in some form or fashion at any time of the day. We are on our laptops or we are constantly checking our smartphone. Most of us are shackled to Facebook when at one time we had more time away from “input”.
Teachers have been complaining about this for a long time. Class after class after class and in between there is no time to plan. So they are forced to spend family time at home working on lesson plans, grading papers and the like. I had one teacher tell me that she’d love to have a couple of hours during the school day to brainstorm ways to help individual students achieve more.
Even with this in my data storage for years, I never made the connection that I also needed that time to brainstorm. Going from meeting to project to phone call to email…and during each of these I am texting, checking Hootsuite, writing an article, updating the website. When do I have time to brainstorm or take that 50,000 foot view of my organization? Actually – the only time I’ve had lately is the shower! Oh, you know what I’m talking about….it’s quiet, you’re relaxed and then…Boom! An idea hits you! You jump out with shampoo in your hair to get to a pad and paper so you can write it down before it’s gone forever.
That is why we need downtime. Because during those precious moments when technology cannot interfere, our brain begins to work. It’s really an amazing tool, that noggin of ours. And if we can just give it a little time to work things out, it will. I know you are busy, but every once in a while you have to take a break from the world so you can help fix its problems. So here is your homework for the week: Allot some downtime for yourself at least 3 times and see what comes of it. If you don’t come up with a brilliant idea, at least you got some peace and quiet.