Why Wasting Our Time Occasionally Can Be Beneficial For Our Psychology

Why Wasting Our Time Occasionally Can Be Beneficial For Our Psychology

There will always be an eternal list of tasks to do, and a culture of relentless productivity forces us to get to it immediately and feel extremely guilty about any time wasted. However, the truth is, a life spent dutifully doing chores and responding to emails is a rather dull one. You'll be surprised to learn that “wasted” time is actually highly fulfilling, inspiring and necessary.

The problem starts when we spend too much of our time chasing productivity, refusing to take real breaks. We postpone a good night's sleep, a long walk, or reading a book by the window—and, even if we do get some time off, it comes with a scary reminding of the things we should be doing, so the experience is destroyed by our guilt.

Instead, people tend to turn to the least enjoying tendency of them all: sitting at their desk, in front of their computer, browsing online and contributing to neither their happiness nor their productivity.

According to Michael Guttridge, a psychologist specialized in workplace behavior:

“There’s an idea we must always be available, work all the time. It’s hard to break out of that and go to the park.”

Nevertheless, the downsides are obvious: people end up zoning out while at their computer—searching for distraction on social media, telling themselves they’re “multitasking” while actually spending far longer than necessary on their most basic tasks.

Guttridge adds that we are missing out on the mental and physical advantages of time spent focused on ourselves.

He says:

“People eat at the desk and get food on the computer—it’s disgusting. They should go for a walk, to the coffee shop, just get away. Even Victorian factories had some kind of rest breaks.”

We shouldn't work so hard. Alex Soojung-Kim Pan, author of REST: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, wrote in Nautilus that luminaries such as Charles Dickens, Gabriel García Márquez, and Charles Darwin had very relaxed schedules, as they worked for five hours a day or even less. The truth is that work expands to fill the time it is given and most of us could spend fewer hours at the office but still get the same amount of work done.

Even the activities that are supposed to be a treat—for instance, watching a movie, or going for a run—can often be weighed down by a sense of responsibility. Guttridge says he has heard of CEOs who watch movies on fast forward to get the gist quickly! And maybe they do, but undoubtedly they don’t experience any of the fun that comes from immersing ourselves in a cinematic world.

According to Guttridge:

“Wasting time is about recharging your battery and de-cluttering. Taking time to be totally, gloriously, proudly unproductive will ultimately make you better at your job. But it’s also fulfilling in and of itself.”

At the end of the day, everyone has the urge to relax by reading a magazine, taking a long walk, or merely doing nothing. We need to embrace those moments and view them as what they truly are: time well spent.

Reference: QZ
Why Wasting Our Time Occasionally Can Be Beneficial For Our Psychology Why Wasting Our Time Occasionally Can Be Beneficial For Our Psychology Reviewed by Katerina Papakyriakopoulou on 4:10 AM Rating: 5

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