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The psychological importance of wasting time

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.

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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.

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Evolution of time management in 5 stages
Evolution of time management in 5 stages
  1. The Clock-Slave: you are either begging for the clock to speed up or slow down.
  2. The Time Tracker: some find it an excellent way of ensuring they s...
The scarcity spiral

When you are time-pressured, you see time as a precious and scarce resource. This triggers a stress response, which can improve motivation in the short term, but often at the expense of morale in the long term. And an unhappy worker is a less productive worker. With lower productivity, there is even more time pressure to get things done.

And on goes the cycle.

The inner tyrant

When a time constraint is placed on you, it will play on repeat in your head: “Get to work!”. If a task takes longer than expected, thoughts like “What is taking so long?" might appear. And at the end of a chaotic day, you might find yourself thinking “You have done nothing today!”.

But you can overthrow this tyrant.

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Maximization

Also known as Fear of Better Options (F.O.B.O.), is the relentless researching of all possible options for fear that you’ll miss out on the “best” one.

Though maximizers tend to make b...

Mostly Fine Decision (MFD)

Your M.F.D. is the minimum outcome you’re willing to accept for a decision.

It’s the outcome you’d be fine with, even if it’s not the absolute best possibility.

Making A Crisis Out Of Everything
Making A Crisis Out Of Everything

Our diminishing resilience and decreasing psychological threshold of handling pain and struggle is, in turn, making everything look like a crisis.

We are making a catastrophe out of eve...

Psychological Resilience

Psychological resilience is not about fake positivity and takes its power from our negative feelings. It makes our anger, sadness, failure and self-loathing into something useful and productive.

When we become sufficiently resilient, we are unstoppable and limitless.

Care For Someone Else

Our focus on the self has made us fearful and overwhelmed, especially in times of crisis. Part of our anxiety is the constant focus on oneself. Even if we do focus on others, it is only to judge them about how they feel about us, and what they think about us.

If instead of our inner selfishness, we find a greater cause to endure the crisis or risk, some deeper purpose or mission that eclipses our ego, then the crisis is taken care of.

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