White space (or negative space) is the part of the page that's left blank. It's necessary not just to group text and graphic elements, but to give the eyes a rest. Similarly, our minds need downtime to learn and come up with new ideas. But as this article in the New York Times points out, our electronic gadgets provide temptation to fill all our downtime with distractions. If we ceaselessly shovel content into our brains, we will never have enough quiet time to be creative.
I have to admit there are times when I don't give myself enough quiet time--instead of relaxing during my lunch hour, I surf the Net or write. But there are other times, such as when I'm at the park with Alex, that I try to take time to relax, look at the clouds, and try to clear my head. It isn't easy, especially when I get earworms from Alex's shows stuck in my brain. But I've also found that when I set aside some time to be creative--for example, setting aside time to develop a plot or an alien race--several ideas may pile on top of each other.
Do you give yourself mental downtime? If so, is it just walking away from the Internet for a while, or do you take more drastic measures? Do you think more should be done to promote the importance of downtime? I wonder if some future culture will mandate everyone unplug every so often, and what affect that would have on people.