We have never had more tools for stuffing additional tasks into a single day. We also have access to an unprecedented amount of data.
Business management self-improvement godfather Peter Drucker famously said,
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
There is almost nothing we can’t measure. But, somethings don’t need to be managed or measured.
The Power of Relaxation
We aren’t designed to work all of the time. We all need time to rest and relax from our work — even if you love your work.
Resting your mind and boy are essential. That doesn’t mean you have to spend all your downtime in a recliner napping. But, you do need to do something separate from your work so that you can exercise different parts of your brain while resting the areas you use every day for work.
Rest and relaxation make you better at your job.
But, there is a growing movement out of Silicon Valley to try and optimize our relaxation by quantifying every element of it.
Measuring Your Fun
The world of productivity hacks is bleeding into the way we spend our downtime. You can find articles teaching you how to read more, hike more, and get more done with the time you have set aside for doing nothing.
We are killing fun by measuring it.
Somethings do not need to be measured.
I love to read. I read fiction and non-fiction for pleasure. Sometimes I read a book or two a week. Sometimes I don’t read a book for an entire month. It depends on my mood and what I have going on in my life.
For me, reading is an escape. It’s puzzling to see articles about using productivity hacks like to-do lists and setting intentions to read more.
If you love reading, you will find time for it. You will turn to it when you need the escape and the rest. If you have to force yourself to read more, you won’t enjoy it. It will become another task. You take all the pleasure out of reading for pleasure.
It’s okay if you don’t like reading. You deserve to spend your downtime doing things that bring you pleasure.
Don’t poison your pleasures by employing productivity hacks to get more out of them.
Pleasure doesn’t need to be measured because it doesn’t need to be managed.
Do you have any guilty pleasures? I hope you don’t truly feel guilt over them. If you are not hurting yourself or others, you shouldn’t feel guilty about doing things that feel good.
Some people turn to productivity hacks to boost their hobbies out of a sense of guilt. They want to feel like they are getting more done.
The quality of your life will dramatically improve once you stop feeling guilty for relaxing.
You Don’t Have to Monetize Everything
You are also allowed to have hobbies that you intensely focus on without any intention of monetizing it.
Some people build fantastic businesses monetizing their knitting hobby. Others think that the definition of hell is turning their hobby into a business.
I’m in the middle. Part of the fun of some of my hobbies is seeing if I can make a little money with them. I don’t want to grow a haiku empire (or do I?). But, I enjoy getting paid a little for my poetry. It helps validate my skills. I wouldn’t enjoy writing haiku as much if I had the pressure of earning my entire living from the art form.
When it comes to your hobbies, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy them. If you are a data nerd and creating ways to measure the joy you experience at feeling the cool, incoming tide on your feet fills you with delight, measure away!
But, be careful about turning your fun into just another compulsory activity. Fun shouldn’t feel like your job.
You Don’t Owe Anyone an Accounting of Your Relaxation
I don’t have a goal for the number of books I want to read or for the number of chocolate chip cookies I hope to eat this year. I don’t track the total miles I hike each year. Those are things I don’t need an accounting of.
I’m not reporting to anyone, including myself, on how much fun I had. Instead, I want to savor those moments and create indelible memories of feeling free and untethered for a few hours.
By not having a rigorous record of my recreation, I can let the memories of my fun soften and morph into a repository of good vibes I can draw upon during the more stressful parts of my life.
Just like there is no one way to be successful, there is no one way to unwind. You do you. Don’t feel compelled to measure or report anything about it.