Why Downtime is Productive

Colourful background of orange, purple, blue and pink.  On the left, on top of all the colours "why downtime is productive" is written.  On the right, a teenage girl with black hair smiles with her eyes closed while listening to music on headphones.

Our world is in a constant state of “go-go-go”, and we are often told that if we’re not working, we’re not being productive.  BUT science proves otherwise. Why do we need more downtime? Well, did you know that downtime is actually productive?  Yes, relaxing, doing something for yourself, and clearing your mind is actually helpful to getting more things done.  Below we break down how exactly downtime makes you more productive, and give you a list of downtime ideas to try.

A purple background with teen boy standing on right.  He has curly black hair and wearing a white hoodie.  His face looks confused and he is thinking.  On the left "take a break to re-focus" is written.

What does downtime help with?

– Problem solving

– Improves judgement

– Gives our brain more energy

– Motivates us

– Sparks creativity

When we spend hours working on something, our minds often start to feel “stuffy” and can’t think clearly.  For example, when working on homework for hours (we’ve all been there), you might think it’s best just to plow right through it, but, taking a little break in between, and before starting helps us refocus, see things from a different perspective, and overall, get our work done faster and better.  

When you have some downtime:

– Your focus shifts

– Your brain can finally relax 

– As you come back to doing work, you see things in a different perspective

You most likely do this already, like re-reading over that essay before you submit it, and rewatching a video presentation before showing it to the class. This is because when you take some downtime, you are allowing your brain to shift its focus to something else, and then when you come back to work, you can think much clearer.  Overall, downtime is one of the best, and easiest, productivity tips.

Teenage girl sitting in front of a laptop in a pink sweater, she is smiling, and writing in a notebook. On the top right corner "taking a break makes you work better!" is written.

Resting Brain VS “Resting Brain”

Your resting brain is far from our definition of “resting”.  It’s always working and processing information.  Downtime is an opportunity for your brain to process and understand what it has learned recently (which means taking study breaks is far from unproductive).   This means that even when you aren’t actively thinking about something, which could be school related or  related to your friendships, family life, weekend plans, school work, sports, or other aspects, your brain is still processing information, and thinking of solutions to issues.  Has anyone ever told you that they’ll “sleep on it”?  My parents have told me this countless times, and I always want to laugh in their face, because how are they supposed to think about something I’ve asked them if they’re asleep?!  But in reality, it’s true, even while you’re sleeping (which is a form of downtime, i.e naps) your brain is still processing information, and often you’ll wake up with an answer to a problem.

Interestingly, some research has shown that our brains are even more active in “downtime”.  Some research even shows that we solve more problems while daydreaming or doing something other than thinking of the problem, for example in the shower.

Half a blue page and half an orange page with a brain in the middle. The orange half has a blue brain on it and says "resting brain" what you might think your resting brain does. not learning anything, asleep, unproductive." The blue page has an orange brain and says "resting brain, what your resting brain actually does. always working, solving problems, strengthens memories, understanding recently learned information."

Over and over again research has proven that downtime is far from unproductive, in fact without downtime, we can’t be our most productive, and best version of ourselves!

 Try to fit in a little bit of downtime into your day.  There are so many ways of taking downtime, which is by far one of our favourite productivity tips!

Downtime ideas:

– Reading

– Going outdoors/taking a walk

– Having a short call with your friends

– Talking about your day with family while sharing a meal

– Playing with your pet for a few minutes

– Even showering counts!

We hope that this information encourages you to take some downtime today, and you feel a small bit of happiness by doing so. 


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Featuring quick videos created for teens by teens.

Our sources:

Read more about this topic here:

Z is for Business

Scientific American

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