I aspire to be productive for most of my day. Yet, I never actually work all those hours I aspire to. I’ll work for 2-3 hours and then take a 30 minute break that turns into a 3 hour break, wasting time on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok—the usual suspects. But, something about that aspirational productivity shapes my decision-making so that I avoid predictably unproductive things like TV and movies. My weakness is those sneaky distractions that seem innocent—a quick browse of Instagram, one YouTube video. It’s so easy to just open up an app on your phone whereas choosing a movie, picking a TV show requires a bit more activation energy.
That added energy is a deterrent for me. Kind of like how you will never say “Tomorrow, I’m going to eat an entire box of oreos” but you have one cookie, then another, and another, and before you know it, the box is gone.
This same avoidance algorithm I follow also applies to things that aren’t traditional wastes of time. For example, I’ve been wanting to redesign my apartment recently. Get some new furniture, move some things around, hang up some new pictures, etc. This isn’t necessarily a waste of time but it’s not my core focus, my business of growing Hashtag Expert into as big a business as possible. So, I avoided it.
Yet, based on my tendency to always fall victim to these accidental 3 hours breaks, I’m going to start indulging in these obscure creative pursuits. I’m going to redesign my apartment, read that fiction book, or follow that Wikipedia tree. People need downtime. The truth is that I don’t always want to be thinking about business. I’m better off indulging my curiosity than squandering 3 hours looking at memes.