Sometimes, we have one of those days. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about : we feel sluggish, bored, tired, and even though we have things to attend to, items on our to do list that are waiting to be crossed off, work, we procrastinate by lying on the couch watching youtube videos or binge watching Netflix.
While work and responsibilities are important of course, I believe it is necessary to give our brains some time off as I talked about here. But what to do ? When shying away from my giant to do list, I usually have no motivation to do anything. I just go on the internet, read random things, or nap, while feeling bad about myself the whole time – you might know the feeling.
I think that if I start a personal side project, it’s like I am officially declaring to the world that I’m giving up what I have to do for something that is less important, or at least less urgent. On the other hand, if I’m just doing random things on the internet, like watching funny videos or whatever, I feel like I can stop anytime I want, and that therefore it is just a (long) break that I’m taking rather than actually procrastination. Pretty twisted logic don’t you think ?
Anyways, in her book “The Happiness Project”, and in her podcast “Happier”, Gretchen Rubin talks about how people usually end up doing a job related to what they did as a child. For instance she used to make collage, and illustrate and write stories, and after a degree in law, she switched career to become a writer ! Her sister Elizabeth Craft was always fond of TV, and now she’s a TV writer ! This might sound simple, but it actually works. For people wondering what job they should do because they do not have any idea, what did you do when you were 5 ? 10 ?
But I think this thinking can also be extended to free time and hobbies. Indeed, when we are tired or bored, it’s often easy to just turn on the TV, or your laptop, and waste your time. But this does not make you feel fulfilled at the end of the day, does it ? What if instead you just try to think about what you did as a child for fun, and adapt it ?
For instance when I was little, I used to invent and write stories (I even started a blog and created a forum when I was around 12 !), and I loved re-organizing and decorating my room. I know it sounds really weird, but I loved tidying ! It made me feel like a new person, and contributed to the possibility of reinventing myself, making up a new story etc.
This means that now, when I’m not feeling like working but I still want to accomplish something while taking my mind off things for a bit, I either write (for myself, or a blog post), read (a great way to dive into another world), or clean/organize my apartment. I’m one of those people who, during exam revisions (like I am now), can just stop studying all at once because I’m fed up with it. I start throwing used things out, declutter my wardrobe, clean the kitchen, move the furniture around. I love the change of scenery it creates, and as I already talked about, a clear space is a clear mind. Afterwards, I feel much better and much more energized to start doing what I have to do again.
So next time you feel like you just need a break, just take it. Don’t feel guilty. Embrace your past self activities, you might surprise yourself and discover a new passion, who knows ? Now tell me, what did you do as a child ?