Here’s Why Unproductive Time Isn’t Always Bad

And don’t feel guilty about it.

Photo by Surface on Unsplash

What is free time? It’s time that you have to spend however you’d like, right?

How do you spend your free time? For me, it’s usually spent writing or catching up on personal work such as this blog or social media for my publishing startup.

I don’t get paid for any of my personal work — not yet, at least.

I’ve accepted this and I enjoy the work enough that, most of the time, I hardly notice I’m dedicating all my free time to it. My craft gets better every day.

Still, there are times I wish I could get away from it all without thinking about it. I have this constant pressure inside me that I’m sure many people are familiar with. It’s a pressure to get things done and be productive with my time.

Society’s age-old misconception

There’s a misconception throughout societies. It says having too much free time equates to laziness. If you’re not spending the time doing what you’re obligated to do rather than what you want to do, then you have no drive.

I disagree, though, I struggle to rid myself of the pressure.

I believe free time spent doing what you want to do can lead to more creativity. If you allow yourself to free the mind and take a break from the busy work, you will have time to think for yourself. That’s my belief.

I trick myself into working toward my aspirations as a way to release my creative energy. However, this isn’t allowing the development of more creative ideas, it’s only giving me time to put an old idea to paper.

To advance creatively, I need to give myself the time and space to do so. Although I’m bettering myself, I don’t allow myself enough opportunity to do what I want. At least, not without an intense feeling of guilt.

Spending time doing what you want is not laziness. I repeat, spending time doing what you want to do should not be looked upon as laziness.

Taking back my free time

Today is a prime example of how I’m feeling about my free time. I woke up this morning unmotivated. I started to write this blog post but couldn’t find the words.

I never really got going on my other work either which happens sometimes. The motivation isn’t always there when you need it and I don’t like putting out unmotivated work.

Instead, I spent the morning conversing on the phone with an old friend. The conversation we had was inspirational and moving. I hung up the phone with a new attitude.

Yet, it was past noon and I still hadn’t much to show for the day. A half a blog post, a few hundred words — that’s it. How come I felt so unproductive?

I found new inspiration, but inspiration isn’t measurable. Therefore, I didn’t feel productive.

Production has to be quantifiable in this world or else its considered unproductive. It made my morning feel lazy.

I can’t help but think that I shouldn’t feel like this. Not every day can be as productive as your most productive day.

This month, I will make it a goal to spend time doing things that free my creative mind. Photography, for example, is one thing that I do for enjoyment that gives me a lot of positive energy.

This blog post, as another example, is something I feel obligated to write. Google likes to see consistent content.

I will rid myself of the fear of ‘wasting time’. There’s no such thing as wasting time if you’re freeing your mind. It needs a break every once in a while, too.

I don’t often take breaks during working hours. I’d like to change that.

There is something positive to gain from free time that I’m not taking advantage of well enough. I want to find that advantage.

Questions to ask yourself

What are you putting off out of fear? If you’re constantly waiting for the right time, isn’t that fear?

What are the potential consequences of taking action on that fear?

On a scale of 1–10, how permanent would the consequences of that action be? How likely would it be that you could return to the very spot you are now after acting on that fear?

Why is professional gain so sought after?

Instead, think about this question: What would you do on a day-to-day basis if you had $1,000,000 in the bank? Would your time be spent differently? Would you treat free time more casually?

Winning back your free-time

It takes courage to do what you’re told not to do, but it can only be accomplished by taking the first step. Do something today that produces nothing and enjoy it. Win back your free-time by doing things for yourself.

There’s a lot that needs to be looked at how we spend our time and why. Our days on this earth are valuable, much more than we treat them.

Our time is precious but we treat it as a hustle. There are other thoughts in my mind, but the gist has been written.

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