Peak Performance with Downtime

 Photo credit: PBS Video

Bill Gates takes what are arguably the most productive “vacations” imaginable. The Wall Street Journal ran a report on Gates’s retreats to a small cottage in the Olympic Mountains awhile back, explaining that the Microsoft founder disappears 2 separate weeks out of the year and lives on Orange Crush, clam chowder, and text, sleeping only enough to keep his mind fresh enough to continue consuming words. He goes on lengthy walks to mull over what he’s read and occasionally allows himself 5 minutes to break for an online brain teaser. Whether he focuses his reading on the future of technology or the future of his company, he spends these weeks disrupting his routine and pursuing what matters most to him and only him.

These past few weeks, we at The Disruption Department have been busily disrupting our routines as well because sometimes the best R&D strategy is R&R. Allie DeSmet has allowed herself to sip her coffee and read the news rather than slurping it down and dashing off to teach. Andrew Goodin has been adventuring his way through Washington and Wyoming. Greg Hill has gone back home to visit family and enjoy life away from screens by camping. And after moving to Little Rock, AR, Brad Cameron has been playing video games and building furniture. In short, we’ve taken some time to do what we love. Because we love what we’re doing at The Disruption Department, we have continued to think and read and write about how to improve community learning and contribute to the Maker Movement. But we’ve broken from the normal day-to-day flow to improve ourselves and ultimately improve our work.

It is because we realize how important it is to occasionally break away from routine that we’ve committed to sharing what we’ve found during our downtime and to continue looking up Daily Disruptions, or ways to draw inspiration from what others are doing in education and technology. We want to share these Disruptions throughout the day, so we encourage you to check the sidebar of our blog, Google+ page, or Twitter account often. True, it’s not very feasible to hop onto a chopper and head over to your cottage in the mountains like Bill Gates, but you can certainly allow yourself a brain break to check out the marvelous things others are accomplishing!


From just one of Goodin's many adventures in Washington and Wyoming.

Disruption Department