Productive Unproductivity


These days, I have a lot of free time. Until recently, free time equalled, in my mind, lazy time. To sit with a beautiful mug from Anthropologie and write for hours was to be unproductive- if that writing had nothing to do with a course, that is. After six months of soul-searching, if I could label my recovery journey as soul-searching, I’ve discovered that to be unproductive is in itself productive sometimes.

Just this morning I asked my mom if she thought it was bad that I didn’t currently have a job. She answered me by saying that of course it wasn’t bad to be unemployed, and that the most important thing I can do right now is figure out how to just be. I think she’s right, as much as I’d enjoy a little extra cash on hand and something to do on particularly boring days. She also reminded me that my time is still not completely mine- I do still make an hour long (each way) commute to the hospital for lunch and group 3 times a week. So, in the spirit of making the best of my time spent with recovery as my number one job, not having a “real” job actually fits perfectly.

Throughout my entire life, I’ve been scheduled in to various activities for 90 percent of my day. The other 10 percent I spent stewing over the fact that I wasn’t busy. As much as I thrive on busy-ness, and find that I’m most productive when I have a bunch of things on the go, I’m finding that I can, for the first time in my life, enjoy a morning at home. I can watch a movie in the afternoon and not feel as guilty about it, knowing that if I really felt like watching a movie, it was the right decision to make. I’m still working on that one, but six months ago I would never have even considered it.

I think it’s human nature to try to be productive. In working, volunteering, or going to school, we can derive some sort of purpose from life. There is most certainly a time for productivity. What I’m beginning to realize is that there is also a time for relaxation, for self care, and for what I would have previously deemed laziness. While I’m not going to lounge around at home for the rest of my life, nor am I signing up for endless days of purposelessness, I’m on my way to finding a healthy balance in productivity. To end on a clichéd note, its like they say: everything in moderation. To me, that includes productivity. So here I sit, coffee in hand, enjoying the sunshine that beams in through my window, listening to Queen and writing on a quiet morning at home. And loving it.

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One Response to Productive Unproductivity

  1. Laura says:

    Just found your blog,
    I find myself in similiar situations where i feel the need to be doing something productive and constantly keep busy, feeling i have to much free time.
    I realize now it is equally important to enjoy that time 🙂 Seeing as I am back in inpatient, i am overwhelmed with plenty of time to discover myself, and i hope you do too.

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