Should free time be productive?

I like to keep myself busy – I maintain a full course load, homework, research, extracurriculars, family responsibilities, social life (sorta). So I don’t have much free time. However, that’s not to say that I never have any down time. I usually take at least an hour to unwind after I finish with work and before I go to bed. And there are plenty of other times when I’m free from obligations: awkward 1-hour gaps between classes, time spent procrastinating doing homework, those 40 minutes while the lemon bars bake in the oven….

Obviously, everyone needs to take breaks from productivity to prevent from burning out, but I find that I spend so much of my time doing the most menial activities – watching cat videos on YouTube, browsing online for clothes and cosmetics I’ll never be able to afford, watching trashy TV shows, and playing Flash games. At the same time, I have a list of a dozen books I want to read, probably a hundred good movies to watch, and at least a few hobbies I’d like to pick up (so jealous of people who know how to use Photoshop). But, even when I have a half-finished book on my dresser, I almost always end up picking up my laptop to browse the latest sales instead (nope, no new sale items added in the last 6 hours…). Sometimes I try to reassure myself that it’s because after a long, hard day I want to do anything BUT use my brain. And watching Kubrick is certainly more cerebral than watching rich bitches in ball gowns mess up their lives a la Gossip Girl.

But at the same time, I wonder if people (not just myself) have gotten mentally weaker. If our brains are less able to focus. It’s not that I enjoy YouTube videos more than Russian literature, it’s that I find it easier to watch 20 minute-long clips than to put in the effort required to re-immerse myself in Dostoyevsky’s world. Then I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Am I just naturally lazy? Or it is society filling my environment with distractions? Is it a lack of self-discipline to resist those distractions? Or am I the only one who feels like they’re wasting their free time, even though it’s “free” time?

Oh look, I'm playing Bloons Tower Defense again... But wait! At the bottom there it says that 159,669 people like it on Facebook! 159,669 people can't all be wrong!?


About evajge

A friend once told me that all I eat is chocolate and cheese. I was both disturbed and amused to realize that he was right.
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