Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

If You Want to Be Productive, You Have to Rest

Today’s re-blog proves that Science has finally caught up with my mother…

She used to always say:

“Whether you’re a Reader, Writer, or Publisher, you absolutely can’t function with ‘peak performance’ unless you get your rest.”

Obviously, my mother never really said anything like that :-)


In a recent thought-provoking review of research on the default mode network, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang of the University of Southern California and her co-authors argue that when we are resting the brain is anything but idle and that, far from being purposeless or unproductive, downtime is in fact essential to mental processes that affirm our identities, develop our understanding of human behavior and instill an internal code of ethics—processes that depend on the DMN. Downtime is an opportunity for the brain to make sense of what it has recently learned, to surface fundamental unresolved tensions in our lives and to swivel its powers of reflection away from the external world toward itself. While mind-wandering we replay conversations we had earlier that day, rewriting our verbal blunders as a way of learning to avoid them in the future. We craft fictional dialogue to practice standing up to someone who intimidates us…

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2 responses to “If You Want to Be Productive, You Have to Rest

  1. Martina Sevecke-Pohlen November 3, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Well, my mother did say something similar whenever I refused to go to bed early. As a mother, I have given up reminding my daughter (Apparently she doesn’t need sleep to function with peak performance), but as an author I know that rest is when creativity is born. Periods of boredom, too.


    • Alexander M Zoltai November 3, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      Well, Martina, my mother did strongly encourage me to go to bed at a reasonable hour—she just never mentioned writers, readers, and publishers :-)

      And, yes, younger folk can miss sleep and still perform well—how sweetly I remember that time in my own life


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