Let Yourself “Waste” Time

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By Michele K. Huffman

This week, we’re setting aside all the affirmations, visualizations, and good long walks. As much as I love those things, sometimes they just feel like “productivity traps.” They can be hard to enjoy and settle into because we know we’re just doing them to “get more done.” 

And, sometimes, what we really need to do to regain our motivational spark isn’t repeating positive mantras, or getting organized, or putting our nose even further to the grindstone. 

Sometimes what we really need to do is . . . nothing.

Don’t take a walk. Don’t brainstorm. Don’t check your email for the fourteenth time that hour. Find a way to turn your brain off, and do nothing.

This doesn’t mean staring blankly at a wall or intentionally clearing your mind like when you meditate. The idea isn’t exactly to do nothing – it’s more about doing something that has absolutely nothing to do with being productive. 

Grab a towel, a novel (or an audiobook!), some sunglasses, and a wide-brim hat, and head outside to catch some rays while you catch up on your reading (don’t forget to put on sunscreen first).

Download a new video game and let yourself play for an hour… or longer. Watch a couple episodes of your favorite “comfort” show (I strongly recommend Parks and Recreation if you’re looking for motivational inspiration). 

Play toss with your cat or fetch with your pup. Enlist your kids, if you have them. Kids are excellent at finding ways to waste time.

Bake a batch of no-reason cupcakes while jamming to your favorite album. Paint your toenails while listening to the latest True Crime podcast.

Make yourself an extravagant lunch. Take your time perfecting your ideal grilled cheese sandwich. Or, hit up a drive-through, head to a park, and have yourself an impromptu picnic. 

If you love the outdoors, go on a hike. If you love to get crafty, start a new project – with no real intention to finish. If you love movies, make some popcorn and throw on that new flick you’ve been dying to watch.

Do the ultimate nothing activity and Take. A. Nap. 

Whatever it is you need to do will be there in an hour or so. Let it be, and give yourself permission to enjoy your bubble-gum brain activity. Let yourself sink into it. Give in to the nothing.

One thing to avoid, though? Scrolling through social media. Studies show that looking at social media can increase stress, and that definitely won’t help with your motivation problem.

Plus, there are so many better ways to waste time on your phone. If you’ve never played Candy Crush, there’s no better time. 

 

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