17 minutes are what is needed for your brain to completely focus on something or relax- our brain works in 17 minute cycles. This summer, my sons and I went on 17 minute breaks during our trip to Venice to either pause and reflect on what we had seen or experienced or to take a ‘sketching break’. This is one of my 17 minutes sketches from Murano-
Tourists busy taking selfies, stopped to watch us sketching. In this harried world where photographing oneself is more important than observing things, they were perhaps surprised to see two boys (one in his late teens), sketching. Bad moods and waiting times were happily passed by these moments. Below is another one from Torcello, done while waiting for a boat to take us back to the hotel. People were respectful and thoughtful. One of them even started ‘crowd control’, to make sure that I had a clear view- this without saying even one word! How powerful is that?!
My sketch book has been travelling with me and my children since then. I think we have learnt a powerful lesson- that creativity is power! You don’t have to sketch but you can write or even relax. In the corporate world, people are taking 17 minutes breaks after working for 52 minutes (not sure where that comes from!). Ted talks are also that length so that people focus.