A fascinating piece by Dr. Daniel Levitin of McGill University appears in today’s New York Times.
Dr. Levitin writes about the way we arrive at solutions, advocating dedicated project times interspersed with listening to music, taking a walk, or just plain daydreaming. He suggests that our brains, which assimilate so much more information with ever-improving data delivery, need to take breaks in order to function well.
He goes on to suggest that we check email, text messages, and voicemail only during certain times of day, turning off our devices at other times.
Speaking for myself, I will hear my phone beep when a text message arrives or Facebook sends an alert to my phone. I always want to know who it is! I will stop doing whatever task is at hand, whether that is computer work, practicing, or something else like reading a book. Then I will call the person back, comment on Facebook, or send an email.
During one recent practice session, I was awaiting directions to a rehearsal venue. So I practiced with my phone on. You can guess what happened: I texted quite a bit more than I practiced.
I have turned off my devices for years in order to practice or get other work done. It’s refreshing to read Dr. Levitin’s suggestions about doing exactly that.