I am relatively disciplined in how I manage my time. I can get a lot accomplished in a day, but honestly, sometimes I just want to order delivery and binge on Netflix long enough for the app to ask if I’m still watching. We’ve all been there. Some of us are there more often than others!
Sometimes it’s totally ok, and maybe even necessary, to do that. Even Tony Robbins watches Family Guy before he goes to bed! Because it’s important to give your brain a break from time to time, and it’s also about having mercy on the part of you that needs to relax. I think it can make us more productive long-term when we give ourselves that space, but knowing when to give yourself permission can be confusing.
Have you ever heard the example about holding a glass of water for a minute, and of course it doesn’t feel too heavy? But if you try to hold it nonstop for hours, you won’t be able to last very long before your whole arm seizes up. If you take little breaks and put the glass down from time to time, you’ll hold on to it much longer than if you tried to go without breaks. The moral of that story as I’ve heard it before was more about sharing your challenges with other people, but it applies to what I’m talking about too.
Here are a few things to ask yourself when you feel like you need a time-out:
Did I accomplish everything I truly needed to already? If you have a work deadline at 9am and you’re not ready yet, going out for coffee with a coworker at 8:30am is not going to be ideal. But either the coffee can wait or the deadline isn’t a real deadline – you have to make that determination.
When will the break end? More applicable on weekends, if you want to watch a football game, will it just be that one? Will you spend the rest of the day checking the scores of other games too? Or if you’re going to watch a TV show, how many episodes do you have in mind?
Is there something else going on? Sometimes we use elaborate distraction tactics when we’re uncomfortable with something we know needs our attention. I’ve witnessed spouses sit in front of the TV or scroll their social media feeds aimlessly to avoid discussing the deterioration of their relationship. I’ve observed people turning to alcohol, food, drugs, TV, social media, and so on as ways to check out from an insurmountable workload, hoping there is clarity on the other side of the distraction. It’s worth checking in with what’s actually going on and if the distraction will serve you long-term or bring you down. At best, it should be neutral!
If you feel good about your answers to those questions, then by all means, binge watch a TV show to your heart’s content! Or at least until you bump up against the parameters you set. For me, if I’m going to watch a mindless TV show, I decide when and how many episodes, and if there’s anything I’d like to be doing at the same time. Not multitasking really (pointless endeavor, it turns out), but I can crochet and watch TV at the same time, for example, and my mind gets a break while I still move forward on a task that is important to me.
I hope this is helpful! Remember, productivity and peace are not mutually exclusive.
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