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Time for Nothing
Parenting Power Admin June 8, 2017 No Comments

Time for Nothing

With so much on the go this month, we are here to remind you that #ThereIsAlwaysTime.

As important as it is to plan time for what needs to get done, it is also important to plan time for nothing.

In a recent blog post, Andrew McPeak highlights the work of McGill University’s Daniel J. Levitin.

“There are two “dominant modes of attention” according to Levitin. These modes are called the “task-positive network” and the “task-negative network.” The task-positive network is used “when you’re actively engaged in a task, focused on it, and undistracted.” It is something like what we would call “executive function.” The task-negative network is used “when your mind is wandering; this is the daydreaming mode.” These two networks act independently of one another and, in fact, cannot be active at the same time. They are “like a seesaw in the brain.”

While our task-positive network allows us to both stay on task and accomplish projects, it is our task-negative network that allows for creative thinking and problem solving. In other words, when our minds are wandering we also find that our creative juices are flowing.”

Too Much Information

With all the information coming at our kids (and ourselves) in school and online, McPeak goes on to share that brains spend an exhausting amount of time in a task-positive state.

“The requirements on a typical student’s time mean that they are often using task-positive brain function, but rarely, if ever, getting sustained periods of task-negative space for their minds to unwind. Instead, they get their task-negative time in short five-minute bursts as they check social media throughout the day.”

So What do We do?

Build some task-negative time into each day (or at least, most days.) Figure out what is right for your family. Will you schedule time outside, or time listening to music and staring at the ceiling?

This week, ask yourself these questions:

Is it important to me that my family has unscheduled (non-screen) time on a daily or weekly basis?

How can we work as a team to create this time?

Would I rather sit and listen to music or head outside for a walk around the block?

Read the rest of McPeak’s post here,

Then, make the time to do nothing for just a few minutes. Set an alarm if that makes you more comfortable. Who knows? This nothing time might just become contagious!

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