Torn and meta-thinking 

I might have touched on this subject in the past, but I constantly feel torn between my brainwashing that every waking minute should be productive, and my wanting to enjoy what I am doing at that moment.

You might say, but what you enjoy doing can be productive too! Well, mindless browsing the Internet is not productive, I’d say.

I noticed that I do not enjoy my weekends because of the constant questions to myself:

  • Am I doing something useful?
  • Is there something else I could be doing with my time that is better?
  • What other activity would be a better use of my time?
  • Am I enjoying myself at this moment?
  • Am I being mindful about what I am doing?

You see that this meta-thinking does not a relaxing weekend make.

One answer is being in the moment and being mindful. Prioritization should accompany this, in my opinion. Otherwise, I can just procrastinate mindfully. (I wonder, is this possible even? Can one be mindful while procrastinating, or does one cancel out the other, so to speak?)

However, if I am meta-thinking and wondering if I am being mindful, that is not really being mindful in the first place. I guess one way to try and solve this is meditation, if articles on the Internet should prove of any use.

My lizard brain does not want to meditate though! It does not give any instant satisfaction.

On the other hand, every person is different, so there isn’t a one-solution-fits-all. For some, walking in the forest can be a type of meditation and mindfulness practice. For others, painting.

Me? I have not found mine yet, sadly. Mindless browsing on the Internet does not count! The search for my cure continues.


2 thoughts on “Torn and meta-thinking 

  1. The Blade of Light says:

    Hmm interesting questions :

    > Am I doing something useful?

    useful to whom, though .?. And by whose standards .?. ;p
    Having a good time is always useful to you, for example. The usefulness of an activity cannot be really measured by the net worth of its results. If browsing the internet is something that you find fun and relaxing, hey, that is by definition useful.

    On the other hand NOTHING is 100% useless .. you could have been standing in your couch, looking at nothing and thinking nothing and you’d still be doing something useful.

    One could argue that me reading hundreds of books was counterproductive or not productive/useful at all.
    One could also argue that the time I have spend playing games or writting in fora is more than the time I have ever studied in my whole life. That doesn’t sound useful, does it.

    Well, they were useful (yes, mostly to me and yes, there is no tangible thing that I can point as a result of it). Books are more worth than the paper they are written on and reading them is never a waste of time (weeell, ok. that is not true for all books :p ), as for thinking up forum posts or games .?. All those things have made me a much better person I think, and that is useful. Maybe I overdid it, at some point .?. Well that is something else to consider, but that does not nullfy their usefulness.

    So, browsing on the internet .?. It cannot be useless by definition … there is a sea of information out there and swimming in it, even if you choose its most thin and frivolous part (which I highly doubt), is still useful … news, articles, fun or made up stories about “35 stupidest things people said to doctors” or videos about cats or fails, or or or … they can all be useful … some of them make you think (useful), others make you laugh (useful), others contain interesting information (useful) and others are just fiction or stories (real or made up) which are fun (also useful) or just looking at things you like (also useful).

    > Is there something else I could be doing with my time that is better?

    well, possibly yes, but life is not an algorithm where we seek to maximize our “productivity output” … “more worth in less time” and stuff like that belong into the strictest (and most appauling) corporate environments and I’d actually argue that applying such a stern approach towards your free time is actually more counterproductive overall. People need time to relax in order to perform better when and where they have/want to … 🙂

    > What other activity would be a better use of my time?

    I do not know, but overthinking and doubting your current activities, is not it. 😉

    > Am I enjoying myself at this moment?

    That is always hard to gauge … it is many times something that can be influenced by external factors … e.g. you might always enjoy reading, but there might be days that you have other, external troubles, that cannot let you focus on reading and thus prevent you from taking any joy out of it.

    > Am I being mindful about what I am doing?

    I do not understand this one, to be honest … what does mindful mean in this context .?.

    > Mindless browsing on the Internet does not count!

    Why not, though .?. How do you measure use or worth .?.

  2. Estelle says:

    And what is wrong in enjoying your free time as you please?
    I can understand being productive during working hours, but there is no reason, in my opinion, to be productive during ones free time. One should do things they enjoy doing.
    For example one of my favourite past-times is reading news and opinionarticles about what is going on in the world. I would hardly call that productive. I could be improving my python skills, or my drawing skills or my music playing skills or any of the numerous things I am interested in. I chose not to. Enjoy your free time and forget about being productive. 😛

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