One bad habit of being a productivity nerd is trying to optimise every moment for usefulness.
And I've been no exception to this tendency.
Ten minutes into enjoying some music or sitting on the balcony doing nothing and my mind goes to:
Should I be reading a book or coming up with blog post ideas instead of doing this?
I've lost count of the number of times I've jumped from activity to activity in pursuit of making my time worthwhile.
Taking a break in the evening after work to wind down?
I'll read some articles and collect notes along the way.
Enjoying some music?
Let me multitask by scrolling through my emails and notes to see if I find something interesting.
How do I meditate perfectly and make the most of this session?
I've even spent hours during my bedtime catching up on plans for the next day, reading blog posts and self-improvement books, just to put a few more wins for the day.
Taking time off and doing nothing productive made me feel guilty.
Like, I was wasting my limited time on this planet on fruitless endeavours.
And viral quotes like "you can sleep while you're dead" added fuel to the fire.
But, here's the thing:
Optimising downtime hasn't made me more productive either.
It has slowly pushed me down a path of burnout.
Here's a visual from The Tiny Wisdom that depicts this situation:
Because we're humans, not machines.
We need time to catch a breath, relax our minds, and feed our brains some fun candy.
It's okay not to work all the time.
Over the past few months, I've taught myself to schedule and enjoy my downtime rather than optimise it.
By not trying to squeeze productivity out of every waking minute.
When I'm in the mood for some good music, I try to immerse myself in the listening experience.
During bedtime, I've swapped reading articles and self-improvement books with biographies or fiction books that don't demand too much brain power and are a soothing experience.
There are still moments when I get swayed by the temptation to make the most of my free time by working on Hulry projects.
Since I work part-time on Hulry, it's hard not to view every minute of free time as a golden opportunity to propel this blog further.
But, here's a guiding question that helps me stay sane:
What do I really want to do at the moment?
After a long workday, do I want to work on my business plan or play with my dog?
The answer is often the latter.
No matter what hustle culture says, you don't need to milk productivity out of every moment.
Be okay with slowing down and not doing anything productive during your downtime.
Enjoy a warm bath, a cup of tea, moments of solitude or an engaging conversation with your loved one.
There's more to life than just work. Cherish your downtime.