The Benefits of Being Unproductive

Sometimes nothing gets done.

Sometimes you run around like crazy trying to multitask 17 things at once and after an hour you look around to discover you’ve created more piles of papers and a longer to do list than when you started whatever project kicked off this frenzy of “productivity”. Dishes are half emptied in the dishwasher and half washed in the sink and laundry is to be both folded and dried, since you so “efficiently” started both the washer and the dryer at the same time, not thinking ahead to when they would both be DONE at the same time. Sometimes you look around and all of a sudden it’s two hours later than you wanted it to be before you got back to work for the second time for the day and you realize you didn’t send the one personal email you meant to send today – the one that would have taken you 30 seconds to send but you just.didn’t.do it. – but that you DID manage to unsubscribe yourself from some of the clutter of email subscriptions you always swore you’d read because surely they would be educational/inspirational/helpful but that you’ve never once opened*. You lament that you’ve neither worked out (there’s always tomorrow, right?) nor eaten a proper dinner and in your overwhelmed assessment of all these things you wonder just how early you can reasonably go to bed and put it all off until tomorrow, since clearly there’s just no point in continuing in this way tonight** because nothing is going to get done.

*Much like the magazine subscriptions that pile up on your coffee table and taunt you with their pristine covers that you’ve yet to touch because despite their glossy appeal you simply can’t find time to read them cover to cover like you want so you don’t read them at all.
**Except that if you go to bed, you’ll just start all over tomorrow, and you’d really rather not.

But you don’t go to bed, because there’s work to be done – actual work, the kind that pays your bills – so you sit down, in despair (just for a minute), and your dog promptly climbs into your lap, as he is wont to do when you sit down (because you never do) and you realize that while you took him for a walk, which was good for his health, and fed him, which was a requirement, you didn’t LOVE him properly today, which he needed. And then you are pinned to the floor by your little being who loves you unconditionally and doesn’t care that your dishes are undone and who is just happy to occupy your human space for a while, and have a revelation about your busyness, which you’ve been pondering for some time. And in that brief moment of quiet, you are madly inspired to write, which you’ve been wanting to do since your last post and somehow just haven’t found the time or the inspiration to, and you realize that it’s difficult to write when your hands are constantly plunged into the sink full of dishwater, or folding endless loads of self-created laundry, or weighted with groceries from errand-running or occupied by your phone and that every now and again, stopping being busy with what you think you should do and allowing yourself to be busy with what you love to do is actually a very good use of time indeed.

Sometimes nothing gets done because you are sitting down for a while, and that is exactly what you are supposed to be doing.

Relaxing with Baylor

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6 responses to “The Benefits of Being Unproductive

  1. Jane Stratton

    I loved that this particular post showed up at the end of my day, and I suddenly felt so connected to you. I love that you love Baxter so unconditionally, and relate to all that busyness that gets in the way of the super important stuff of life. Love you, Girl!

  2. Amen and well said! I’m so glad that Little Dog worms his way into your lap and makes you enjoy the quiet times. It’s so hard because our Western society is so production-oriented that we feel guilty when we just want and, more importantly, NEED to do nothing.

  3. Time snuggling with our pet leaves us feeling better able to handle the “to-do” list, I think! Another wonderful, well-written, thought-provoking post! love you Friece!!

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