Feeling Lazy? How can downtime boost creativity and improve productivity?

I am an entrepreneur, a business owner, and a father of four. There is so much to do. My to-do list has no limit. My inbox is bursting at the seams. My schedule is full. I don’t have the time for inconsiderate laziness.
But is there a side to laziness that can actually improve productivity? Could it be the yin to productivity?
Research and experience have taught me two things:
Productivity is a highly desirable trait that is often viewed as a positive thing. It is something we read books about, purchase apps for, and become quite proficient at.
However, rest and the cessation or work is considered a necessary evil. We might take a vacation once or twice per year. It’s hard to get 8 hours sleep. A relaxing afternoon with the family? A few moments of mindless daydreaming on the couch? No!
If productivity is a good thing (and I believe it is), then could its counterpart–non-productivity–be a good thing, too?
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How can productivity and laziness co-exist?
Richard Feynman was a genius. He lived from 1918 to 1988, and played an important role in politics, national defense, higher education, and politics. His schedule was intense and demanding. People expected him to solve difficult problems in theoretical physics, teach, research, write and write.
Feynman was a burning man. Here’s how Feynman described his experience:
This is how I changed my attitude. I’m exhausted and won’t accomplish anything. I have a nice job at the university, teaching classes. I enjoy this position, and I will continue to play with physics whenever I like.
Feynman was enjoying a leisurely moment in Cornell’s cafeteria one day after eating. He wasn’t carrying an iPhone, as this was in the 1960s. Instead, he was looking at a worker in a cafeteria spinning plates in the air.
That’s when Feynman had his eureka moment.
Feynman was watching the spinning plates of the airborne plates when he accidentally discovered a physics discovery that would win him the Nobel prize.
I see a pattern in the Feynman story:
Mental relaxation > Letting go > Chilling out for a while > Breakthrough discovery > Burst of creativity > Period of accomplishmentChapters of our history suggest this pattern is true where restful moments are often followed by productive or creative bursts. Archimedes could have been taking a relaxing bath when he suddenly realized that displacement was a principle and began to run through Syracuse shouting “Eureka!” Although Newton may not have been lying under an apple tree when he was abruptly awakened from an object lesson in gravity, the principles of these stories are true.
I am arguing my case on more that anecdote. Science supports this conclusion.
The default mode network, also known as DMN, is a network of interconnected brain regions that “talk” to one another in meaningful ways.
Image source
When we relax, daydream or think about the future or past, the DMN comes to life.
Our DMN organizes the diverse information our brains receive throughout the day. It is the way our brain clears away the clutter and opens up the door to creative breakthroughs and a feeling of clarity.
Your brain is working hard even though you may feel like you’re just chilling. Mental health is dependent on the ability to organize, file, eliding, arrange, and all that goes on behind the scenes.