Something that I am continuously trying to do is to relax productively. To find things to do that help me unwind while at the same time helping me to better myself. My favorite activities to this end are cooking, reading, and, more recently, writing. All of them are entertaining, they take my mind off of things I am working on, and they are very productive.
Doing mindless things isn’t necessarily bad. Whether it is watching trash tv, reading Buzzfeed articles, watching the Presidential Debates–doing things that require no thinking whatsoever can often serve as a much needed relief from our hectic and challenging lives. But I always try to not do these types of things too often. This is very hard but also very worth it.
Even if you cut down on doing “mindless” activities for just a few hours a week you will see yourself greatly improved. If you devote that time instead to learning a new skill, like cooking for example, you’ll find that in a time span of only a few months you will become an experienced and skilled cook. It takes surprisingly little time and effort to become accomplished at anything–and not even that much more effort to become an expert at something.
This is why it is so advantageous to use your down time in productive ways. If you just replace a fraction of tv time a week with going to the gym you will find yourself in great shape. If you replace it with reading, you will find that after a year you will have read more books than anyone you know. If you replace it with learning and cooking new recipes, you’ll be the best cook you know.
Turning off is important. You need things to help you unwind so that you don’t go nuts or get burnt out. But relaxation time does not have to mean wasted time. Not when there are so many awesome things to do, see, and learn in this world. And not when it is so easy to learn new skills and become an expert at those skills.
Make a concerted effort to use down time productively and in no time at all you will see yourself improve in ways you never thought were possible!