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The psychological importance of wasting time

Productivity guilt

Productivity guilt

Living in a culture of non-stop productivity, we refuse to take real breaks. We put off sleeping in or reading by the window. Even if we do manage to take time away, it comes with the feeling that we should be doing things. We feel guilty about any wasted time.

But “wasted” time is highly fulfilling and necessary. Wasting time is about recharging your battery and de-cluttering.

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The psychological importance of wasting time

The psychological importance of wasting time

https://qz.com/970924/the-psychological-importance-of-wasting-time/

qz.com

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Key Ideas

Productivity guilt

Living in a culture of non-stop productivity, we refuse to take real breaks. We put off sleeping in or reading by the window. Even if we do manage to take time away, it comes with the feeling that we should be doing things. We feel guilty about any wasted time.

But “wasted” time is highly fulfilling and necessary. Wasting time is about recharging your battery and de-cluttering.

The problem with not taking breaks

When we refuse to take real breaks, we tend to turn to the least fulling tendency: We sit in front of our computer and start zoning out. We browse websites and tell ourselves we're "multitasking," but are really spending much longer on the most basic tasks.

This neither contributes to happiness nor productivity.

We don't need to work so hard

Luminaries such as Charles Dickens, Gabriel García Márquez, and Charles Darwin worked for five hours a day or less. In truth, work expands to fill the time allotted. Most of us could spend fewer hours at the office and do the same amount of work.

Taking the time to be unproductive will make you better at your job.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Self-Control Components

Self-control has two components:

  • Our ability to resist temptations
  • Our ability to exercise control over our behaviour and emotions.
  • ...

Self Control and Eating Healthy

While it’s obvious we need to exhibit a certain amount of self-control while choosing what we put in our bodies, that is not the whole story.

If we educate our bodies and learn about nutrition, longevity and how our individual bodies function, we could be eating a lot healthier.

The Pleasures Of Life

There is a lot of stuff available for us to do that makes us feel better instantly. Watching TV, going to the beach, drinking alcohol, smoking, and almost every other activity that seems pleasurable to us, giving us temporary pleasure in a jiffy. When we keep doing that, the long term effects are bad, and we feel older, weaker, sicker, while not having any achievement in our lives.

This is a natural process of a slow movement towards disorder, is also the second law of thermodynamics, called Entropy.

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Bottomless visual

Bottomless visual

The world in the 21st century is the same it used to be. It smells about the same, sound pollution is pretty stable. But the spill of information and distraction that comes to our vision has grown ...

Information overload

  • Information overload was a term coined in the mid-1960s by Bertram Gross, a social scientist.
  • In 1970, writer Alvin Toffler popularized the idea of information overload as part of a set of predictions about eventual dependence on technology.
  • Another set of academics wrote that information overload occurs when the amount of input exceeds its processing capacity.
  • A 2011 study found that on a typical day, Americans were taking in five times as much information as they had done 15 years earlier.
  • A 2019 study identified that our attention span is shrinking, probably because of digital overload.

Technology pushed too much

It is probably too late to restore our attention span to that of our grandparents. After a decade of smartphone use and social media, the harm is perhaps irreversible.

Part of the problem in this age of overload is the constant insistence of notifications that seeks our immediate attention. When the body jumps to attention and for nothing of particular worth, it can be confusing.

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Make planning a habit

Make planning a habit

Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.

Start by setting the alarm for you...

Align your to-do list with goals

  1. Break down your big goals into daily tasks. You can't add "Get in shape" to your daily to-do list, but you can add "spend 30 minutes on my bike."
  2. Consider your week as a whole. You likely have multiple goals. Some goals benefit from daily activity, while working towards others a few times a week can create momentum.
  3. Add your have-to-do tasks last. We often fill our to-do lists with have-to-do tasks that crowd the whole day. Adding it last forces you to fit your have-to-do tasks around your goal tasks.

Have one daily priority

Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we planned.

A balm against hectic days that pass without progress is to choose a single activity to prioritize and protect in your calendar. If you struggle to select your top priority, ask yourself, when you look back on your day, what do you want the highlight to be? That's your priority.

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