Recently, I’ve been adopting a ‘it’s ok not be always doing something productive’ policy. The idea being – that’ll I’ll be productive and focused at work, and then outside of work, while it’s good to have some amount of extra-curricular productivity – the focus more being on enjoying one’s life, but more so, relaxing and being happy, so that I’m able to be relaxed and productive at work.
One basis for this attitude, in the list of common death regrets, one is ‘I wish I didn’t work so hard’.
We can break kinds of activities in to three groups. For example for me, they might be:
|Necessary||Life Maintainence||Spare Time|
|Things that need to be done, or else drastic consequences||Things that need to be done as part of a healthy lifestyle, but can be put off without drastic consequences||Things that it’s up to you to decide what you do with that time.|
The attitude I’ve generally found the most successful regarding producing creative work is to ‘do art when I’m enjoying it’. I typically find that creative work that is just bursting to getting out, particularly writing, 1) is easy to write. Five hundred to a thousand words in an hour is fairly common. 2) It tends to be my favorite work in retrospect.
On the other hand – while I really enjoy TV shows and movies – I like them better than books – I find often I’m not in a relaxed enough state to relax and be immersed in the film. In these states, I’m likely to only half watch the film, while I use my phone or browse the internet. I don’t want to ruin the experience of a good movie or TV show by only half watching, so I’d prefer to put off watching a TV show or movie until I’m sufficiently exhausted enough to be satisfied with just sitting back and being immersed.
Recently, due to better organisation, I’ve found myself having more free time – the chores done, it’s not a gym day, and I’m a bit bored and restless, but I really don’t feel like writing.
Doing something social is out, because that tends to be time consuming, and we’re really talking about killing a couple of hours in the evening.
This is where computer games can be good, but… the barrier for me for a lot of games, is that they seem to have a high upfront cost in the learning the game. You need to spend quite a lot of time learning the game.
The Civilization series is a game I’ve played since Civilization II. It has a great sweet spot of active engagement on my part, (ie. as opposed to a movie which doesn’t require my interaction), as well as being easy enough on the mind that if not really thinking, the game will still move ahead (unlike some writing or other productive work).
The problem with Civilization though – is that it’s a long running game. Completing a game requires more like ten hours, whereas I’m really looking for a game that I can complete in two.