Ever go on one of those vacations where your schedule is so jam-packed you end up exhausted? One where you feel like you need a vacation to recover from your vacation?
No? Good. Because that’s not what a vacation is. The word literally means “freedom from obligations.”
So why create obligations during your free time? That’s exactly what some people do on vacations, but also on their nights and weekends.
And then people wonder why they’re so burned out. It’s no mystery, Scooby Doo.
Quit being so productive
You pride yourself on being an organized, productive person. So when the work day ends, it’s naturally time to excel at excelling, right?
Hit the gym, then language lessons for an hour, a quick 20 minute slot for an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix, then wrap up the day with some important reading on how to become even more productive.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these pursuits, of course. It’s the super-efficient schedule on top of your workload that’s crushing you. What you need is some inefficiency.
Intentional inefficiency is when we purposefully choose to let ourselves be disorganized instead of structured, unproductive instead of industrious, and improvisational instead of methodical. Intentional inefficiency is a conscious attempt to balance the state of being goal-oriented and focused on achievement, with the opposite state of being playful and focused on enjoyment.
So let’s say you hit the gym, and then after that, do whichever of those other things for however long. Or, just do whatever comes to mind, spur of the moment.
Lighten up, Francis
There’s nothing wrong with bettering yourself. But it shouldn’t be a goal unto itself. And while watching four hours of Netflix every night is not the answer, neither is subjecting yourself to a ruthless schedule when you don’t have to.
The idea is to do stuff you love doing during your free time, just for the sake of it. Focus on a hobby. Play a sport not for fitness, but for (gasp) fun.
If intentional inefficiency sparks feelings of guilt, consider this — you’ll be more productive when you get back to work. So yeah, you’re actually taking one for the team by being replenished, recharged, and reinvigorated.
Get Back to Your Best with Intentional Inefficiency (Psychology Today)