It might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes being unproductive to be productive can be just the thing you need to increase efficiency.

Are you busy all the time and never slow down? Does the thought of slowing down, or even doing nothing,  make you nervous or even scare you? Would you like to learn how you can get more done by doing nothing?  Learn tips to be unproductive to be productive.

A few years ago, I vegged for 2 weeks straight and binge-watched The Good Wife. I literally did zero work on my business.  I checked my email every day, but that was it. I just couldn’t muster up anything else. As a small business owner scared the heck out of me.

But, the two weeks were a gift and I came back and was way more productive in four hours than I ever would have been in those two weeks.


Why Being Unproductive Is Good

We aren’t meant to go go go all the time.  That causes burnout.  For me, even when I am unproductive, I am being productive on a creative level. I am stewing on ideas mainly.  Giving my brain and soul rest to let them do their thing.

There is a difference between being busy and being productive.  When you are multi-tasking you can make mistakes, not really getting stuff done. Some may view me as unproductive with my process of writing podcast episodes.

I Talk a lot about being present. Sometimes let the stuff come to you. The older I get, the more I practice my spirituality, and the more this works.

I know when I’m bored, I don’t censor myself and my creativity tends to flourish. It sometimes even spurs me into action.

A study conducted by Mann and Cadman (2014) at the University of Central Lancashire found that participants who had intentionally led to boredom generated significantly more use for a pair of plastic cups than those who weren’t.  The study also found that boredom during more passive activities had an even greater positive impact on creativity post-activity.  While continued boredom isn’t good, the occasional twiddling of thumbs can be.

The top 5 happiest countries in the world are Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, and Finland.  All five worked the shortest work hours and Switzerland and Finland were in the top 10 most competitive countries. 


What can we do when we are unproductive?

Play. Reading a book right now and about to start a 28-day course. I have to play every day however I define that. When is the last time you colored or played with play-doh or ran around in the rain?

Veg.  Watch TV.  Be a couch potato like me. I haven’t done anything like that since last year. But I obviously really needed to.

Nap.  Most of us don’t get enough sleep. If you need to rest, do so.


Explore. What are you curious about?

Hang out with your best friend. Take a day to explore the city.

Nothing. When was the last time you simply were?


What about Guilt?

I am a small business owner so I had to overcome the guilt. 

What has helped me the most, honestly, is I see that every time I am unproductive I am more productive, and my creativity flourishes.

Remember, there is value in the process of something, not just the goal itself. So many times in my life the process has been worth it. I look at the process of meeting my hubs.

Trying to get away from comparing and competing will also help.

Finally, remind yourself you are being productive in a different way.

How can you be unproductive to be productive?  How else can you take a break to foster productivity?

Take Actions from Today’s blog on uncluttered living:

  • Schedule some time to be unproductive. If you are able to do this spontaneously, great.
  • What do you need to do the most during your unproductive time?  Honor that.
  • Find a healthy way to deal with your guilt if you have it
  • How can you be “unproductive” on a regular basis?
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