Counter Productive

Ignoring work is something we’ve all done before. Some of us happen to excel at procrastinating and simply cannot imagine a world where the things that must be done are finished on time, or even worse…ahead of time. And we all have our own excuses: my friend needed my help; my computer’s on the fritz again; my dog ate my homework, etc. But there’s one excuse that not many people take advantage of enough; “I was being productive, just not in the way you’d think.”

It seems a bit awkward and silly, but if you think about it, many of us are actually enriching or educating ourselves when we put off our chores or work. We cannot possibly put the effort into finishing that term paper today, but we can binge an entire season of Chopped or pour our hearts into earning the high score in In truth, I’ve done both of these things. I still suck at, but that’s not important.

What I’m trying to say is that we shouldn’t always feel so bad about spending time on things that aren’t required of us. Not that we should never do work again, but sometimes we need to dedicate an hour and a half to learning how to make perfect Dutch Mohawk Braid Updo (that’s a real thing and it’s very pretty, a friend of mine can make one and it’s legit magical).

We can have fun, learn something new, and actually be productive by just killing time. I don’t know about you, but I never feel more creative than when I’m avoiding my obligations in favor of watching SORTEDfood videos on YouTube or scrolling through aesthetic blogs on Tumblr. It’s not only relaxing, but it motivates me to try new dishes at home and figure out what my tastes are. Cliché, I know, but this time in my life is perfect for self-discovery.

Why not broaden my horizons a bit by taking a crack at something that interests me, or helps me become better at some activity? Develop a new skill? Not everything taught in a classroom is helpful or practical. By losing yourself in a documentary or a sweet album by an artist you just found out about, you’re actually working on something really important…yourself.

It doesn’t always pan out perfectly. There’s no guarantee that by absorbing content that you enjoy, your talents will increase (praying for +1 dexterity as you attempt to juggle four stuffed animals does not work, folks).

But there are always tangible rewards to being what I like to call, CounterProductive.

So clever. Much funny.

Though it’s nice to get the added benefits of becoming more proficient at a task, it is often equally rewarding to just work on understanding yourself. It may seem like all you’re doing is putting off that project for another day, but maybe you’re also discovering that you like making collages of space. Because space is so amazingly pretty and so wonderfully terrifying and you just found the perfect picture of a butterfly nebula and it’s not a problem, okay? I CAN STOP AT ANY TIME!

…Ahem. Where were we?

While I do not advocate rejecting all of your obligations and responsibilities to take up a new hobby or listen to Ira Glass and Glynn Washington on their respective NPR podcasts, taking a few hours to relax and better yourself isn’t something to be ashamed of. On that note, I’m going to go learn how to make chicken pad thai.

Image credit: “Productivity” by Ben Mizen. Used via CC-BY-SA 2.0 License.

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