When I Work I Wanna Play, When I Play I Feel I Should Be Working: Productivity & Learning To Relax

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Did the kitty cat image grab your attention? I thought it might, now even if you draw nothing from my words you have a nice image to stare at for a while. So I was scanning the WordPress Reader, checking out articles as you do and came upon a general theme of a few posts who will not be named. The overall message from said posts was of how they felt gaming felt like a waste of time when they could be doing something else productive, that they felt like they couldn’t enjoy their games because there could be so many other things to do that would be more beneficial. Rather than go into any sort of lengthy explanation of what good games can do which has already been done to death by many, I felt like commenting on the notion that “there is always something more productive I can do with my time”.

We don’t always get a lot of free time as we age and find our time taken up with responsibilities. With this dwindling of opportune moments to do something you don’t have to it isn’t surprising there is a growing feeling of wanting to put that time to good use, to make the most out of a situation. However this concept goes too far into a persons mind when they start losing the joy of leisure activities. Shocking as it may be we aren’t robots, we are flesh and bone human beings who can’t always be busy little worker bees for the good of the hive. Self reflection and improvement is pivotal to creating a better person in a world that needs them more than ever especially in the workplace, however there are two philosophical quotes I’d like to bring up.

Practice Makes Perfect being the first and All Work & No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy being the second. Becoming better at anything is important and takes time. Working all day makes you tired, you don’t indulge who you are in a relaxing way. I’m sure there are those who find leisure in working but they are the lucky ones and will be acknowledged but not commented upon here. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be someone who works all his life till retirement then spends the years where I am at my frailest and weakest trying to do the things I wanted to do before. I suppose I could try and keep in good health as I age but good health doesn’t stop me from deteriorating.

There will always be something more productive to do with your time, absolutely always. As I write this very blog post there are probably a multitude of things that I could be doing that would better myself in ways blogging couldn’t even attempt to achieve, however I’m here doing this because I want to. This is a leisure activity for me, I’m just enjoying myself getting my mind out on a piece of virtual paper. I could also not blog and do something even less productive, maybe even do absolutely nothing. Praise be to the ones who can find sweet, sweet peace in doing absolutely nothing, I don’t often get them but the do nothing days do come around occasionally.

Doing nothing is good. Doing work is good. There seems to be the idea in some peoples minds that they should be doing something productive or meaningful with their time pretty much all the time. How boring. What is life without a contrast? How can you enjoy being productive when you don’t even remember what it is like to do something rewardless yet amusing? Or even doing nothing? I enjoy being lazy, however I only enjoy it as a contrast to spending my hours deep into a project or trying to achieve something. I couldn’t look forward to hitting the weekend otherwise, I’d burn out. We sleep because our bodies literally cannot keep up, the brain uses up more energy staying awake than it can make. Downtime is important physically for our bodies, don’t you think giving the mental side of our brains a breather is important as well?

When I work I am enjoying the prospects that come with doing the work. I am improving my skills, making connections with people who will let me get ahead in life and reach those goals I have. When I play I am enjoying the prospects that come with being at rest relaxing. I like letting go all the concerns of the world and stretching my arms as I go to lay on the sofa in my quilt with some Crunch Creams biscuits and watching something on the TV. I could be doing something more productive yes but what I am doing right now is important. If anyone ever suggests that you aren’t doing anything with your time, tell them of course I’m not its called relaxing you twod.

Do something mindless. Do something productive. Just don’t worry that in doing something mindless you aren’t gaining anything. Learn to savour the balance of rest and work, accept that you are a human being that doesn’t have to do a damn thing worthwhile with every moment. The great people of our history did something worthwhile with a moment, but remember that was a single moment and not every moment in their life. The theory of relativity didn’t come from a person who was always doing something productive, Einstein needed to simmer every once and a while to just have some fun doing something small but enjoyable. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be surprised if the man had a bongo night. Damn I think I might need a bongo night, better find some bongos and learn to play bongos. Bongos. Great now it sounds weird.

I’m gonna be playing a Wii U soon, guess how productive my time is gonna be during those hours? Guess who cares? Oh you people learn quick. Do nothing today and something tomorrow. Do something next week and just sleep for 2 days. As long as you don’t do too much or too little of anything you’ll find a healthy and prosperous life ahead of you. If too much water ingested can kill creatures who are made up of more water than anything else, I think it is clear that nature is trying to tell us to learn some moderation.

What kind of things do you like to do when in your down time? Do people, even you, make you feel guilty for not spending your time “more wisely”? What is this more wisely they speak of, they are spending their time telling people to spend their time “more wisely”, that doesn’t seem very wise at all. Thanks for the read and I’ll see you all later.

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  1. #1 by Maddie on January 15, 2015 - 11:07 pm

    My husband struggles with the ‘something more productive’ thought process a lot. Sometimes, a game will get his attention and he’ll just sit back and enjoy it, but most of the time… well, every Sunday evening is a good example: he begins lamenting that he did nothing but game and relax all weekend. Even if he cleaned the kitchen or helped move furniture, then spent the /rest/ of the time gaming, he worries that he didn’t do something more productive with that ‘rest’ of the time. The question is, how to untrain decades of habitual thinking… Any ideas?

    Like

    • #2 by Prof.mcstevie on January 15, 2015 - 11:14 pm

      Radical re-evaluation of ones perspective on anything is difficult to approach, however a shock to the system or a powerful realisation can be helpful. Else I’m not the person to help mould a strangers mind, especially from behind a monitor!

      If it ever seems to be a grievance beyond a minor annoyance I suppose seeing a psychiatrist might be an insightful experience.

      Like

  2. #3 by Andy Primm on January 12, 2015 - 4:28 pm

    I do have to admit that I sometimes feel guilty for playing video games instead of reading a book or watching a movie. I love games, but it’s so rare that a game shows me some truth about the world or tells a meaningful story. They’re pure escapist entertainment, and I recognize that some forms of entertainment are more intellectually stimulating than others.

    Like

    • #4 by Prof.mcstevie on January 12, 2015 - 9:00 pm

      Since when did games become pure escapist entertainment? I could tell you a game that teaches people to accept the sorrow as much as the joy, another that gives people the opportunity to help the less fortunate.

      Perseverance in the face of adversary, questions posited at every facet of life from how right it is to lay your beliefs upon others alongside both romantic notions of war and dark cold painful realities of it.

      A game could be informative and insightful while a book or a movie could dull your senses and glaze your eyes, the reverse is true. No media is purely anything but a reflection of people.

      Like

  3. #5 by kerryburgergamer on January 9, 2015 - 5:55 pm

    DAMN YOU! The cat got me…

    Like

    • #6 by Prof.mcstevie on January 9, 2015 - 11:13 pm

      Little guy looks peaceful huh, I wish I could get that comfortable anywhere. My cats just finds comfort in any place they can sit, lucky them.

      Like

    • #7 by kerryburgergamer on January 10, 2015 - 2:40 am

      It’s sad indeed that I can’t just comfortably curl up in a paper bag with my 3DS and laze the day away.

      Like

    • #8 by Prof.mcstevie on January 10, 2015 - 2:46 am

      If only packaging boxes were as attractive to me as they were felines~

      Like

  4. #9 by Matt on January 9, 2015 - 12:30 pm

    In my down time I like to play videogames (obviously), but when I don’t have anything to play I try to do something outdoors, like riding my bike, hiking, or something like that. It is especially great because the city where I live (Rio de Janeiro) has a particularly excellent range of great places that can be visited for free while you get in touch with nature and enjoy great views!

    Thankfully I have never had anyone tell me I should spend my time more wisely. I hate to toot my own horn, but I have always been great at time management (although that is a quality that comes along with my stupid tendency to plan everything), so I know how to balance all activities I have to do and like to do.

    Like

  5. #10 by pyrusic on January 9, 2015 - 6:41 am

    Ha, clever. I, for one, try to find things that are both fun and productive. Or I try to create something tangential related to the things that I just find fun. Like writing about video games =D

    I think it’s dangerous to separate work and pleasure completely, as if we’re to be guilty for enjoying the times we set aside to do what’s best for us and others around us. But sometimes it’s just easy to gauge our productivity by how awful we make ourselves feel, easy to see life through the lens of our emotions. Humans are weird that way.

    Like

    • #11 by Prof.mcstevie on January 9, 2015 - 11:15 pm

      I concur with all of it. Generally for myself I don’t feel guilt doing nothing, as I stated I find nothing important to my health.

      Like

  6. #12 by theimpassionedcynic on January 8, 2015 - 10:00 pm

    I quickly grew out of the whole “i’ll do something productive instead” mindset because relaxing IS productive.

    You’re spot on.

    When i’m doing something productive i’m *usually* glad i’m doing it, moreso when i’m done. But afterwards i’m glad that i’m able to do something relaxing.

    That’s life, a game of balance.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. #13 by thepenmin on January 8, 2015 - 8:17 pm

    I totally relate, it’s hard to justify doing “nothing” and just relaxing when you feel like you’ve got tons of stuff to do. But, it’s also necessary to just kick back enough so that you can balance it with work (relaxing enough helps you work more intensely, too, I think). Thanks for the interesting post.

    Like

    • #14 by Prof.mcstevie on January 8, 2015 - 8:45 pm

      There are parts of the mind that work at their best when the rest of it is stuck in having fun, play facilitates better work.

      Thanks for reading the post, 1000+ words used to be something I dreaded typing but now I do it all the time and the fact you read it regardless means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

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