It’s time to relax, time to do the things that you enjoy and, most importantly, days when you don’t have to be at work. Many of us are low on free time. As employers drive us to the brink, we work disproportionately long hours and we scrabble to stay adrift in an unpredictable job market. The consequence is that the free-time we have is becoming important.
A fragile, useful 48-hour window which must be protected at all costs. During that time we are supposed to somehow complete the entire week of life leader, socializing, sleeping, exercising, artistic pursuits and self-care. This can be daunting, and can contribute to the uncomfortable free-time paralysis phenomenon. This is where you are basically, by default, immobilised. Incapable of determining whether to write the blog post, watch Netflix show everybody thinking about it and you end up doing nothing at all. And the shame then sets in. It is a very terrible process. And how can we sort this out?If you suffer from free-time paralysis then it’s probably time you re-framed your own expectations for yourself.
A lot of people believe they must still be successful. Start your day, get things done, step forward and easily and aggressively achieve their goals. But efficiency isn’t always successful. In reality, a lot of times being successful isn’t effective. Getting busy doesn’t automatically mean you are going in the best possible way toward your target.
Give yourself permission to let go, to be unproductive, when you feel lost and when you can’t decide what to do or how to do so. Enable yourself to do one of the stuff in this post and then you’ll end up miraculously being more successful.
So whenever you feel unproductive, stuck or uninspired, go ahead, take it easy, let things go for a while, relax and try one of the following to get on top of your game:
- Go for a walk
Would you feel guilty about getting out of the door, because otherwise you wouldn’t be in productivity mode? Talk it over again. Going out is one of the easiest ways to get productivity juice flowing in. Take a stroll alone and enjoy the scenery (skip the shopping malls), watch the great beautiful light, watch people talk, go to a park or some peaceful place and you can just wait for ideas to sparkle. Should not forget to bring with you a small notebook and pen to write down any thoughts that might come to mind.
Equally important for success is exercise. Exercising raises the heart rate, pumping more oxygen into the brain. This also activates in your brain endorphins and other strong chemicals that are beneficial not just for your physical wellbeing but also for your mental ability. It provides the right ingredients to get you back on track. Take the push-ups on or off to a sprint.
Reading blog posts or a good book may mean you ‘re wasting your time when you need to get stuff done, but sometimes it’s easier to delay or procrastinate. Reading really does fuel the imaginative brain, giving you fresh feedback and ideas. I like non-fiction. As you read your mind consumes the information and it wanders off for a while. This is when imagination is setting in. Inspiration arrives, ideas come up and the desire to make things happen with that. This is going to come back tenfold to you.
4. Coffee and Small talk
The same goes for small talk with people. You know the times when you walk into someone and you really should have to get going, but this person has a lot to share with you and won’t let you go. You’ve stopped listening and all you think about is how you can get away from the conversation. The clock is ticking and your focus is on more important things to do.
But what if you get out of your mind and stop worrying about stopping the conversation and start listening to the person before you. Start a real conversation, rather than small talk. Learn from the individual, become interested, ask questions, see if common interests can be found. You could discover a new source of inspiration which could change your day.
The conversation may also disrupt your worries or think pattern of tunnel vision you had just before you walked into the guy. Which alone is worth the break. The talk could free you from your troubled thoughts and set your mind up for new ideas and a more successful day to come.
5. Watch or listen
Watch an inspiring documentary or interview on Netflix or YouTube of someone you admire or can learn from. Listen to podcasts while lying down on your comfty couch. The best men and women in your skill field can provide you with a different or fresh look on things. Expand your knowledge and wisdom and gain a greater and new perspective on your work, life and relationships.
6. Do nothing
Really nothing? Okay all right, you can do something about it. But just sit down and take a look out of the window, and enjoy the view. You may be looking at beautiful trees, people walking by, driving cars or just a simple wall. It doesn’t matter; it can take inspiration from anything. Just keep looking and your thoughts are going to lead you in a direction and guide you to where you have to go. Also if you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, you ‘re going to boost your strength and give the room and space for breathing to your mind. Your subconsciousness is working on something you can’t see yet but ultimately will take you to the next level. I call it Unseen Productivity.
Meditating can seem like a huge waste of your productive time. But when you feel stuck or unmotivated, I encourage to meditate for 10 minutes. Focus solely on your breathing (breath in, breath out) and soon ideas will flow like a river and burst out of thin air. Be sure to have a pencil and a piece of paper right beside you when it happens. Write down whatever needs to be written down and get back to focus on your breathing. Wait for another wave of inspiration that will be send your way. Waste time with busyness or save time with meditation.
Sleeping is thinking about productivity in the short and the long term. Either sleep or a lack of food, creativity ends up running out. Having a quick nap will do wonders for you when you feel unproductive. It’s your fuel having the greatest burning of flames.
When you feel bad about having time for downtime, rethink what you mean by productivity. Without long breaks, hyper-efficiency and a quality recovery period will contribute to burnout. That would potentially damage your profitability and performance in the long run. In comparison, unplanned time will rejuvenate the body and mind. Make today a balancing act today.
Check out my related post: Why do things take longer than you expect it to be?