Professionals, and even students, know that in this day and age, there is not a moment to spare. First thing in the morning, many roll over and check their phones for emails and texts. We get ourselves ready for the day, scarf down a breakfast (though whether or not this part happens is variable), and we dive in head-first.
The morning routine is a strong indicator of the pace of the rest of our day: it is always on the move. Our “free time” is never that— if we have an extra few minutes, we can’t just sit with them. There are things to do. So, we complete projects, make calls, or create a list of things that need to be done in the future. For morning until night, we are constantly stimulating ourselves.
All Work, No Play
Productivity is by no means a bad thing. An engaged mind keeps our brains healthy into old age, but a survey by the Harvard Business Review reveals that many professionals’ workweeks are a little more than just busy. 60% of those who carry a smartphone are connected to work 13.5 or more hours a day, and five hours on the weekend, averaging a 72-hour workweek.
This is entirely a result of our own devices—both literally and figuratively. Half of our week is spent working in order to stay on up to speed in the competitive grind. Even our times of leisure are scheduled so that we make the most of our days.
With the constant connection to the internet, everything moves practically at light speed, and we have been conditioned to believe it needs our immediate attention. We don’t take time to be without any longer. That is equally as exhausting as it is damaging. The continual connection leads to a disconnect with ourselves. It snuffs our creativity.
Reconnecting With Yourself
The damage to our inner selves has a fix that almost seems too good to be true: just take a step back. Put down your devices and let your mind wander. It doesn’t have to be a large chunk of the day, it can be something as simple as a 30-minute walk or just sitting on the porch to watch the sunset.
Some are terrified of this prospect—going from around the clock stimulation to 30 minutes of “nothing” is like torture to them—but the positive effect allowing your mind to wander has cannot be overlooked. Giving yourself “wasteful” time promotes creative thinking, disinhabituation, even effective future thinking. A stronger connection to one’s inner self leads to a more content, sound mind.
But the inner-self isn’t the only part of one’s life that is beneficially impacted. Pulling away to let your mind roam free facilitates energized, innovative thinking and problem solving, which positively influences one’s work-life directly. We are more better workers when we aren’t always working.
So, waste a little time. Go to a park and watch books. Leisurely read a book. Let your mind go where it wants, and grow more connected with the core of yourself. It will lead to a fuller, more well-rounded life.