I once had a discussion with an acquaintance over how much sleep a person needs. He was convinced that only “lazy” people get the recommended eight hours or more of sleep. His argument…. Imagine how much more one could accomplish in their day if they shaved even an hour of sleep off of their schedule?
But what is needed to be accomplished? How much work does one actually need to do in a day to be considered productive? And when did productivity become the standard by which we are measured? When did finding time for relaxation and daydreaming become “wasteful”?
I countered that we all need rest. Some people need more than others. Science tells us this. And I know from experience too. While I can operate at five or six hours of sleep, getting closer to eight hours is best for me. Those hours don’t make me less productive. They give me the amount of time I need to be at my best. It gives me the correct amount of sleep to be creative AND productive.
Anyone who creates any kind of art will tell you that the mind needs some sort of rest to be able to achieve any sort of creativity or inspiration. But in this day, amongst certain people, that seems to be held as a standard of sloth. I can sit and stare out my window and be thinking of a thousand scenarios in my head, composing paragraphs of prose and flights of fancy, but not write a single word of it down because, well, my brain needs that exercise and that flight. It’s often the only way to find the correct words to write for a story.
But to some, that’s a waste of time because I have nothing to show for my daydreams. But let me tell you something – in the past year alone I have written three full novels, twelve novellas, a handful of short stories and have kept up two blogs…. on top of working a full-time job and living a life. If that’s not productive, I don’t know what is.
Yet, I sometimes feel guilty about having that “waste of time” because I am not actually doing anything except thinking. I don’t move. I don’t write. I just be.
To some, spending an entire day reading is also wasteful pursuit. After all, it’s not productive either. But it’s not a waste of time for me, though I only usually do that a day or two a month at present time. After all, there is no other activity in which piece of paper make you hallucinate images for hours on end. A good book usually leaves me exhausted by the end of it, because I have had a tumult of emotions from reading it. I feel like I have lived it. And all I did was sit on the couch all day.
But like so many other people, I need that time though too.
I once knew someone who called video games a waste of time yet they would sit glued to their television all day watching their favorite sports teams or binge watch their favorite shows. Is that just as much a “waste of time”? Is it just as much pursuing something that makes one happy? Is that not just as much a time to just be?
Everyone is “productive” in their own way.
If you are one who needs to stay busy every waking second of the day, then be busy. This post is not meant to shame you. If you are one of those go-getters who needs to fill your day with hustling, I applaud you. The world needs people like that.
But don’t expect everyone to be exactly like you. After all, we’re not clones.
But if you need your down time, take it without feeling guilty. After all, we’re all prone to need the rest. We’re all prone to need the hour of mindlessness in the middle of the day, the extra hour of sleep, the nap, the television shows and video games, the escape into a book or the daydreams. It is what keeps us feeling alive. It’s what keeps us going and striving for more. It’s what actually does help make us productive in our own way.
Be your own kind of productivity, no matter what that looks like. And continue to write your own story!
If you liked this blog post and wanted to see some of the fantasy works I have written, check out my Portals Series. If you are interested in my other online endeavors, check out the drop down menu.
And as always, #writeyourownstory