Ben Franklin — Founding Father, inventor, statesman, diplomat — knew the value of taking a break each day. Adding slack to our day allows us to:
1. Plan your learning. Think carefully about what you want to learn. We shouldn’t just have goals for what we want to accomplish. We should also have goals for what we want to learn.
2. Deliberately practice. Rather than doing things automatically, we should strive to improve. This means doing things like taking time to get honest feedback on our work and practicing specific skills we want to improve.
3. Ruminate. It’ll give you perspective on lessons learned and help you assimilate new ideas. It can also help us develop slow hunches in order to have creative breakthroughs. Walking is a great way to process these insights, as shown by many greats who were or are walking fanatics, from Charles Darwin to Steve Jobs.
4. Set aside time for learning. This includes activities like reading, having conversations, taking classes, observing others, etc.
5. Solve problems as they arise. When most people experience problems during the day, they sweep them under the rug so that they can continue their to-do list. Having slack creates the space to address small problems before they turn into big problems.
6. Do small experiments with big potential payoffs. Whether or not an experiment works, it’s an opportunity to learn and test your ideas.
Be like Ben. Read more about the benefits of taking an hour break each day to recharge, think, learn.