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Why You Shouldn’t Always be Productive

In this big frenzy of GTD and productivity, it is easy to slowly turn into a robot from reading article after article of “Top 10 ways to brush your teeth more effectively” and “Shave your hair, because it is costing you 4.3 minutes per day to shampoo!” Okay, maybe they aren’t that dramatic, but they are getting close.

For the last 3 weeks I have been doing a condensed mathematics course, so I can get ahead and possibly take AP Math in grade 12. Anyways, in the condensed math course, it is easy to get “math burnout” from the constant bombardment of new concepts and formulas, six hours a day. Luckily we are given 30 minute breaks between each session, with an extra 30 min for lunch.

I know a couple fellow bloggers who in this situation would just switch their work to something else at break, such as their blogging, freelancing, or some other productive activity. I tried this, trying each break to do something to work towards my goals such as any emails I need to send out, blog business, and any other computer-related tasks I had piled up. However I found that yesterday, when I spent half of my breaks brainlessly stumbling funny pictures and flash games via StumbleUpon, I actually did better in the next math session.


I think the trick really is finding the right balance of productive time use and brainless time use so that when you return to work, you are ready to go. Even though blogging or sending emails is less stressful and more relaxing than the math sessions, it did not revitalize me enough for the next class. However just playing flash games, etc seemed to relax me, but it also wasted a bit of time. My solution? 15 minutes of sending out emails, taking care of MITs, and then 15 minutes of time to wind down before next class.

I have implemented this a couple days after my midterm report, so I will report back on whether this technique has a positive, negative, or any impact on my marks.

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2 Responses to “Why You Shouldn’t Always be Productive”

  1. Scot Herrick says:

    I would add that if you can do something physical after all of the class stuff, you will do even better. For some reason, doing something physical, such as walking, really helps with the mental rejuvenation.

    But, a break into something different is very important. Burnout in two hours or less without it.

  2. Very effective trick of productive. Yes, after break we can easily productive to our work. Thanks for good information.