It’s hard to not find the irony of me writing a post about being unproductive given the fact that our team has been working around the clock to get LifeStarr out and into the world for you. However, with all of this productivity, it’s allowed me to truly appreciate and find value in the unproductive moments, because truth be told, without them, my achievements would have never happened in the first place.
Like the rest of the country (and a large part of the world), I’m at home, anxiously awaiting the day that the coronavirus is over. This is a frightening time for all of us, but out of it, there have been some silver linings. It’s allowed many of us the time to reflect and evaluate our lives. We have all gotten so used to the day-to-day hustle and bustle, that we genuinely don’t know what to do with our downtime.
So, I’m here to tell you that downtime is not only OK, it’s actually extremely valuable, you just have to get comfortable with it.
Being Bored Is Not Only OK, It’s Important
Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you to go play in your room? While the thought of it often insinuated boredom, the reality is, we all ended up finding something to do, no matter how creative we had to be, and that’s the key, we had to be creative.
As we get older, the opportunities to be creative become more and more scarce as our to-do lists continue to grow. We get so into the routine of always having something that needs to be done, that when we have down time, we fill it with our favorite podcast or mindless TV.
What if instead of filling that space, we allowed our minds to just wander? What if we were able to not only pay attention to our very thoughts, but actually have them?
I’ve heard that this pandemic will bring about a lot of innovation, and we’ve started to see it already, but the innovations don’t have to be monumental. You can have your own innovations and revelations simply by taking the time to explore them. Who knows, maybe you’ve had them for years and they’ve just needed an opportunity to surface.
There’s a reason mindfulness and meditation have gained such popularity over the past few years. I’m not typically a strong advocate one way or another for these types of things (you do you), but it’s hard to ignore the evidence of the benefits these practices provide, including:
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Helps you focus
- Improves self awareness
- Boosts your mood
There are a plethora of others, but the point is, there seems to be a ton of value to mindfulness and meditation. Far more than you often get when you’re only always “being productive.”
Consider allocating some of your downtime to these practices. You may be amazed at outcomes.
Have you ever had a day with zero commitments and you start out feeling motivated ready to take on life and conquer all of your to-do items, but hours later find yourself on the couch taking in the next episode of your favorite binge-worthy show? We’ve all been there, and that, my friends, is being lazy (by the way, there’s nothing wrong with that as long as it isn’t a constant habit).
It’s OK to give into that temptation every once in a while because it gives your mind a break. We so often feel like we need to be “on” that we frequently risk burnout. Let your mind rest. If you’re working from home right now, take a 30-minute afternoon nap. Let yourself recharge so that when you need to be productive again, you’re ready for it.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Have you noticed that being busy these days has become somewhat of a bragging right? We all have that friend (or are that friend) that meets up for happy hour with the “oh my gosh, I’ve worked 65 hours this week” or the common response to an invite “I wish I could but I’m soooooo busy, I just don’t have time for anything.”
I want you to take a minute and just really let that sink in. Why are those proud and common things to say? If you’re looking for sympathy, you’re likely not going to get it, because it’s likely that the people that you’re talking to are running on the same hamster wheel.
It’s funny because I’ve yet to find somebody who doesn’t strive for a break or vacation, but when they actually get one, they don’t know what to do with it. Being busy makes us feel productive, but that doesn’t mean we’re actually being productive. Many times, you’re really just working on filler tasks and not focusing on anything that’s really groundbreaking.
Here at LifeStarr we want you to focus on what really matters. We help you focus on the important tasks, so that you’re not just filling your days with fluff. Because of this, our app frees up a ton of time throughout the week for people. Instead of filling it with meaningless tasks just to show you're busy, consider filling it with a walk with the dog, a date night in, or something as simple as a puzzle, because while those may not come off as productive tasks, the immense value they provide cannot go unrecognized.