It’s easy to let work take over our time. In our always-on-hustle culture, we often get stuck at our desks (👩💻🥗) thinking we are too busy to take a break and do anything outside work.
out of office explores the intersection between work and play. But exploring, meeting new people, working from different places or spending on hobbies is key to flourish and thrive in work and life, stay inspired, creative and sane.
It‘s the time we spend outside of the office that we are opening ourselves up to new ideas, moments of serendipity, daydreaming, and imaging!
Nothing fires up the brain like play.
As children, we pick up play naturally and instinctively. Growing up, the idea strengthens that play is trivial and a waste of time.
This becomes even more obvious when entering the working world. Very few companies foster play, many unintentionally undermine it. Studies, however, show that play has the power to significantly improve personal health, relationships, education and the ability to innovate.
Play leads to brain plasticity, adaptability and creativity. By expanding our minds and fueling exploration, play broadens our perspective and allows us to generate new ideas and see old ideas in a new light.
Good rest is active.
We often connect leisure and downtime with being lazy. Rest is often just something we do in order to recover for more work, as Greek philosopher Aristotle warned. But that’s not how it should be.
“We mistake leisure for idleness and work for creativity. Of course, work may be creative. But only when informed by leisure. Leisure is not the cessation of work, but work of another kind, work restored to its human meaning, as a celebration and a festival.” as Josef Pieper puts it in Leisure: The Basis of Culture.
It’s the time that we get fully engaged in a passion, a hobby or something that fulfills our hearts that gives us new inspiration.
Being in the Zone.
Good rest requires full detachment from work and our often busy and anxious minds. It’s the time that we get fully engaged in a passion, a hobby, or something that fulfills our hearts. That can be cooking, hiking, painting, or playing an instrument. What unites these activities, besides the fact that they give us a sense of meaning, is that they also tend to get us into flow states—those moments in which we are so absorbed in what we are doing that we completely lose ourselves in them.
People are happiest when they experience a state of flow. Based on the popular "Flow Model" the theory outlines the idea of being in a state where you are fully immersed in what you are doing. "Being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost."
The necessity of downtime.
Our culture tends to look at doing nothing in a negative light. If we are absorbed by our work and the daily grind, we avoid creating spaces for new ideas and meeting new people.
Downtime is necessary for problem-solving. As Jonah Lehrer states "it’s commonly assumed the best way to solve a difficult problem is to relentlessly focus, this clenched state of mind comes with a hidden cost: it inhibits the sort of creative connections that lead to breakthroughs.”
Daydreaming and opening up moments of serendipity, we stay connected to our surroundings and create the ability for new things to happen. By removing barriers to serendipity and creating intersections between people, creativity happens. We can’t choose where and when those moments happen, but we can choose to be open to them and create space for them.