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The psychological importance of wasting time

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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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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  • For example, consider using your phone's built-in alarm for taking breaks, or giving yourself a reminder to eat lunch, or taking a screen break to reduce eyestrain.
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  • Don't forget to use the same technology to turn off notifications and distractions while you're working.

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