Tinkering in Unproductivity
I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to have the pressure of always being productive in what you choose to do in your free time. Every waking moment doesn’t need to be productive and you don’t always need to be producing something. You don’t always need to be working towards a specific goal in life. You need to calm down sometimes and have hobbies you find relaxing.
While I love good research, it’s almost gotten to the point where we have to use evidence from studies to get people off our back. However, I’m so tired of having to defend what I do in my own free time. I don’t need to justify it, or have other people’s approval. There’s already so much expected of us: being on call at work, working overtime, taking work home, going to school, doing homework and studying, and more. What we do around those things is none of their business. It is not necessary to fill all of our free time with activities for other people or be productive.
It’s important to have our downtime too. There are many benefits of having real downtime, such as increased creativity, better problem-solving, improved mental and physical health, better relationships with others, more focus, and increased overall productivity. These are the points of downtime, but sometimes we need downtime where we don’t do anything at all. We need to do things without a specific reason for them, or a checklist to show all of the benefits for how we spend our time.
If you want to do something that doesn’t improve your mind or have certain benefits, then do it! We do need sleep, to get off the computer, and not to stare at the t.v. for hours on end, but we don’t need to be “on” all the time or to be limited to a certain list of things to do in our downtime. Even when you need to spend time with your kids, there are multiple ways to do that that benefit you both. You can watch a movie or play a video game with them. In your downtime by yourself, you can binge watch a show or read books without taking a break. The important thing is to be satisfied and happy with how you spend your downtime.
We do need a balance overall, such as making sure we get movement and eat, but there’s only so much we need to check off our list and no reason to add to that list. As long as you’re not breaking the law or hurting someone, what you do is completely up to you. We don’t have to have all our ducks in a row or do things that society accepts in order to have downtime to do whatever we want. We don’t need approval, or to have excuses or studies that give what we do a backbone. Do what you want to do because it’s enjoyable and because you have every right to do what you want to do.
This has been on my mind lately because people keep coming to me and judging what I do in my downtime, like when I choose to read two books in a row during a weekend, without taking a break. There’s nothing wrong with doing something that is considered dull or uncool either. People just want to be nosy and voice their opinions and complaints. There is a saying that goes “if it harms none, do what you will.” I hope that you go off and do something that’s not productive, simply because you want to and enjoy doing it.