Productivity is overrated. Boredom is underestimated; we spend so much time trying to be productive and avoiding being bored.
Constantly filling up our time with things to do has not been a difficult task in the past few years. As a millenial, I find myself living in a society where the person whose to-do list is the largest is called ambitious, a culture that promotes hustling every hour of every day and in an era that productivity gurus are a thing, teaching us how to be more productive and make the most out of our time*. Because your time is money and we can never have enough of it, right? Ah capitalism *sighs*
If you see it in that way, being bored sounds pretty much like being lazy. Why doing nothing when you could be making the most out of your time?
It’s a trap
It happens that now we do have a bit more time than usual and that makes us think:
I’m finally home, I have time, this is the moment to pursue the project I’ve been wanting to for so long.
A startup, a side business, writing your novel… You feel like you need to be productive, you need to be creative, otherwise you won’t be making the best out of these enormous amounts of time you have, you won’t feel accomplished as a person. You can’t afford to be bored or do nothing, because you won’t feel committed enough to the thing you want.
I can tell you this because I’ve been living with this idea ever since I was in high school: I knew I had a certain amount of time for classes and then I needed to use the rest of my time to “be productive” (also known as making youtube videos, chat with friends on MSN and do homework, plus thinking about the dinner I could cook for mum and I that night). I’ve dragged that into my late 20s: working a full-time job, going to university and using the rest a few hours I had to run a side business and do homework. However, these past few months I’ve been trying to change it, because not only I could no longer feel pleasure in what I was doing but also I had to deal with how that “productivity” would impact my mental & physical health.
You’re not less of a person for doing nothing, you’re not lazy if you decide to take this time off and take a break. You’re a human being, not a machine.
Give yourself credit
With everything that’s been going on in the world, (a.k.a a wide-world pandemic, quarantine, being stuck at home every day, plus everything that’s going on in your head) do you actually believe you need to function like a normal human being living a normal life?
So be kind to yourself and if you feel you are not doing enough, let me ask you who are you comparing yourself to in order not to feel productive enough? You have all the right to be bored and do nothing. Give yourself a break. Let yourself be bored. Embrace the precious time of doing nothing, of not fighting against boredom; it’s such an amazing feeling to rediscover that not everything we have to do in our lives needs to be done for a greater purpose but the pleasure of the activity itself.
Take things slow and give yourself credit.
You’re doing enough.
*see it here as an extreme. All the extremes are bad, yet i’m not preaching we should be disorganized! However, you get my point.