Why It's Ok to Be Unproductive
There’s a lot of pressure to be productive. To constantly be focused, efficient, and always on the go.
But in a constant effort to be productive, we forget the importance of not being productive. Of slowing down. Of taking the time to do nothing.
Being unproductive is just as important as being productive. Let’s chat about why!
Why It’s Ok to Be Unproductive
1. You don’t owe anyone anything
It can be very difficult for us to relax when we feel like we are letting someone down.
Here’s the only truth that you need to remember: the only thing you owe anyone else, is to give them your best self.
If your best self is frantic, overworked, tired, and constantly productive, then by all means keep pushing yourself until you run ragged!
But I wager a guess that your best self is kind, open minded, innovative, creative, focused, brilliant, and well rested.
In order to become her, you need to remember that you owe yourself some rest!
2. You are not a machine
Oh girl. You know that I believe that our bodies are beautiful beings, and they are truly magical in their creation.
And while they are an amazing mix of various parts all working in tandem, it does not make us a machine.
We take for granted the wonders of ourselves and all of the pieces that have to work together to make us laugh, cry, work, dream, and connect.
And when we take those processes for granted, we take for granted our humanness. The fact that we need rest in order to be productive. The fact that we need time to do nothing, to be unproductive, so that we can come back in a productive, fiery blaze of glory!
Don’t push yourself to your limits. Because even though I know you’ll survive, I also know that you probably won’t be doing your best work, or being your best self (and I think you know that too).
3. You’re not lazy, you’re loving
One of the questions I’ve been practicing asking myself lately is “what do I need right now, in this moment?”.
The best gift you can give yourself is providing for yourself. Listening to your heart, your soul, and your intuition and catering to those needs is the ultimate kind gesture.
Sometimes your answer will be a treat yourself day. Or maybe it’ll be to take a solo vacation.
Or maybe it’ll be to sit and do nothing. To have a Parks and Recreation marathon. To watch the Bachelorette. To take a walk. To quit that project that’s not bringing you joy.
When you choose to do nothing, you’re not being lazy. You’re being loving.
Loving to your current self because you’re saying “I see your hard work, and I give you permission to take a break.”
Loving to your past self because you’re saying “I know you’ve worked hard and pushed yourself beyond your limits before. I’m learning from you, thanks friend.”
Loving to your future self because you're saying “I’m excited for everything you have planned. I know you’re capable of doing it, and I’m going to take care of you now so that you can succeed when the time comes.”
4. You’ll actually be more productive when you take a step back
Fun fact: there’s a reason why we have shower thoughts!
When we let ourselves rest, relax, and take a step back from the constant hustle, we allow our minds to freely wander.
Creativity comes from moments of curiosity. And when we are always in a search of productivity, we usually quell that curious part of ourselves.
When our motive is productivity, our focus is on getting as much done as possible, as quickly as possible. Instead of taking time to ask questions, we look for shortcuts.
But sometimes we need to take the long route in order to make the most progress.
5. Replace productive with purpose
Instead of scheduling times where you must be productive, schedule times where you work with a purpose!
Purposeful work, even if it’s slow or not the most efficient, is always better than meaningless productive work.
In fact, I’d push you to schedule unproductive work time.
When I’ve had a busy day or I know I will have a busy evening or late night, I schedule mental health time the next morning.
That’s my way of telling myself to take it slow, that it’s ok to have an unproductive morning. I’ll get smaller tasks done like organizing emails or cleaning my desk. Still things that have purpose, but things that aren’t at the top of my productivity priority list.
And then in the afternoon, I’ll work on my productivity list with a purpose (and way more energy!).
So friend, give yourself some time today to relax, recoup, and be a little unproductive!