The Low-Quality Leisure Trap - Deepstash

The Low-Quality Leisure Trap

Most of the meaningful things we could do in our free time require some kind of effort. And we sometimes lack the energy to do them.

We all want to be on our phones less, spend more time with our family, or dedicate ourselves to our hobbies. Except the day ends, we’re tired, and all of the things we value seem too difficult. 

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MORE IDEAS FROM Get the Most From Your Limited Free Time | Scott H Young

The feeling of effort is a sensation of opportunity costs. When you’re doing anything, and an alternative activity promises to be easier and more immediately rewarding, the activity feels effortful.

This explains why people could spend all their time reading in earlier eras. They could do so because this activity didn’t need to compete with cheaper stimulation.

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The Focused Life at Home

The goal of the focused life at home is to choose where to spend your time.

Unfortunately, our free time fails to live up to our ideal and instead of spending time on our hobbies, books or familiy moments, we get caught in the low-quality leisure trap - easy and available distractions like phones, television and social media, rather than the pursuits that actually matter.

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Ever-growing To-Do List

With full-time commitments like University or Job tasks could be hard, but one can always find some spare time. This time could be invested on self-care and family time among others.

A long to-do list with saved browser tabs of courses to watch or books to learn. Our to-learn list is long and ever-growing, skills that we want to maintain and master, harder to fit it in our schedules.

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Finding Time For Learning
  • Most adults who are juggling work, parenting and self-care find it hard to set aside time to learn anything new.
  • The desire to learn is there, as one knows the importance of upgrading one’s skill sets. The challenge is to find the time to learn.
  • The most fundamental strategy is not to spread ourselves too thin, and have only one project at a time. If we want to learn tennis, painting and coding, we need to pick one first.
  • If multiple projects are important to us, we still need to focus on learning one project at a time and pick the second one after progress is made on the first one.

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Effort as Energy Expenditure

Effort represents an investment of a fixed resource, like calories.

For this reason, running takes more effort than sitting. It takes more calories and strains muscles and joints. If you run non-stop, you will need to eat more to stay alive, and you will wear your muscles out.

However, effort as energy expenditure does not fully answer why we struggle to take action, as effortful tasks, such as playing tennis, is more fun than doing nothing.

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