I took a walk yesterday. The wind rustled through the green leaves as each step carried me farther from the hustle and bustle of the city. Birds were chirping, the sun was shining, and the water was trickling over the rocks near the footpath. It was pure bliss – and in total juxtaposition to my work load.
The summer brought with it a heat wave, the smell of sunscreen and freshly mown grass, and a whole lot of deadlines. It also symbolized the start of a new season – and the opportunity to leave things behind. Gone was the seasonal depression, the unemployment, the inactivity.... so I'll take busy. I'll take busy any day, as long as I know how to handle the anxious, scatter-brained feelings that come with it.
So when prompted to give my two cents about how to be the most productive, my reply was simply this: spend time being unproductive. Is that too Millennial of me?
Blocking out time for things I enjoy was crucial for my mental health. If you read The Routine, you know that I have my morning mapped out to the minute. In addition to nature hikes, here are a few more things I've added:
- Meditation: Each morning, I take five or ten minutes to clear my mind and release any negative emotions I carried over from the day before, or to bask in the positive energy I feel. Headspace is a great app for that.
- Sketching: Not only is it therapeutic for me because it forces me to focus on the curved lines or the pressure of the graphite pencil, it is also a creative outlet that I've wanted to pursue since elementary school. Making time for hobbies that give me pleasure often lead to developing skills I can use in my job.
- Reading: I just bought a recliner, and there's almost no greater feeling than curling up in it with a good book. I've always been a reader, but now I'm intentional about doing it daily.
- Spending time with friends: I live in close proximity to several of my friends, and now that the weather is nicer, we have been adventuring around the town like an elementary school gang. Other people can prove to be a wealth of inspiration.
There will always be deadlines, unwanted workloads, and stress, so I recommend that you pursue unproductivity as well. It will equip you for those moments. It will make you more productive.