How To Be UN-productive

This post is partly inspired by current events. But truth be told I’ve been thinking about productivity anyway. We live in a social-media-driven, side-hustle, Youtuber-blogger-Instagrammer world. Everyone has the perfect job, house, car, children, pet, etc, etc. We know it’s not real, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get to us, especially when we’re looking to be distracted. We see what others are doing and that makes a little part of our brain say “hey – DO SOMETHING!” It’s part of the reason I’m writing this right now when there’s no reason I can’t just relax a bit :/

So in this post, I’m going to address not being productive. Settle down and get ready to do…nothing.

More time ≠ more productive

Here in the UK we work the longest hours in Europe, but we are the least productive country. This “productivity gap” pops up on the news occasionally as a big mystery. Whatever the reason, it’s the perfect example that devoting hours of time to something doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be more productive. And you know, as writers we can say amen to that right?

You’ve done more than you think

Think you haven’t achieved much? Make a list of everything you’ve done up until now. You got up, you brushed your teeth, you made a cup of tea – you breathed in and you damn well breathed out. You were productive in the maintenance of you. And you are your best product after all.

Take a social media break

Social media comes up a lot as the Big Bad and I don’t fully agree with that. But we humans can’t help but compare ourselves to others; we’re a pack animal. In the past you were more likely to be comparing yourself to a film star and of course they’d be doing better than you. With social media, all sorts of ‘ordinary’ folk are successfully carving creative (and lucrative) careers and looking fabulous while doing it. Or at least they seem to be. And even when we know it’s not real, it still gets to us. So put down the phone, even for a little bit. This is hard I know. I’ve been on and off SM networks for over a year now. But it does help. Try scheduling limited periods of time to look at them helps rather than going completely cold turkey.

Learn to daydream

Mindfulness is a big thing at the moment and it can be super helpful. But if you’re like me, your brain can’t manage this for long and gets to fretting. But thinking about stuff is not necessarily a bad thing. It just depends what you think about. I think learning to daydream is as much of an art as learning to meditate. Use your imagination! Don’t think about what you should be doing, think about canoing down a river, or what it might be like to be an Astronaut, or a even a whale! Children are usually pretty good at this and then we lose it over time as we’re introduced to “the real world” (yeah thanks adults). But there’s no reason we can’t keep doing it.

Write a schedule – with downtime

I love a schedule – and if you really struggle to NOT do anything, then why not plan it in? Schedule time to do nothing. To not be productive. To stop and smell the real or metaphorical roses.

What do you think? Do you feel the productivity demon on your shoulder? How do you manage?

Related reads

The Good (and The Bad) of Being A Writer With a Day Job

8 Self-Care Tips for Writing

What I Learnt Coming “Off” Social Media


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