Being unproductive: How to find free or cheap fun

The Bliss Dancer statue from Burning Man 2010. It's a frame statue of a nude woman, dancing by herself.

Being unproductive is blissful for her. How about you? (Photo Credit: CC BY/Kenna Takahashi/Wikipedia)

Do you fall into the trap of assuming that your sole purpose in life is to be productive? Finding your personal bliss may involve achievement, but the full, balanced scope of your existence may encompass times where being unproductive is just as desirable. Here are some tips for enjoying free or cheap fun, all the while displaying a marked lack of productivity.

Being unproductive tip No. 1: Make ’em laugh

Whether instigated by jokes, funny stories or even recommended doses of quirky behavior, the onset of laughter is restorative. Delivery is the most important thing. If you observe the world around you and don’t take yourself too seriously, proper delivery can make even relatively mundane statements into laughter popcorn. Make yourself and someone else smile. It doesn’t cost a thing.

Being unproductive tip No. 2: Observe new things

Even if you watch simply for personal enjoyment, pay attention to the activities of others, activities with which you are not familiar. Rock climbing, Euclidean geometry or playing the piano are all activities that can be fun to watch, depending upon your personal proclivities. You don’t have to run off and take costly lessons. Be content with observing the pursuits, soaking it in. Pursuing them yourself is for another day and another time.

Being unproductive tip No. 3: Listen to the call of the wild

Particularly in the early morning and evening, listen to the sound and rhythm of creatures in the wild. The sounds of birds, insects, frogs and more can create a naturally blissful audio landscape that you can enjoy for free by actually going to the forest, or the swamp. A noise machine is no replacement.

Being unproductive tip No. 4: Enjoy the park

Think Chicago was lying when it sang about all the good things to do on a Saturday in the park? Think again. A free public park is a great summertime destination for sitting back and catching some rays. Bring a chair, or a towel. If you’re going to be there at lunchtime, bring lunch with you and enjoy it there.

Being unproductive tip No. 5: Fun among the hedges

Check to see if your town has a community flower garden or arboretum. Even a greenhouse will do. Seeing flowers, trees and other plants is a pleasant way to enjoy an afternoon, and many facilities of this nature do not charge an admission fee.

Being unproductive tip No. 6: In the clouds

This is an easy one to mix with your trip to the park. Observe cloud formations and try to classify the shapes in your mind. You don’t have to know what type of cloud it is, but you can decide whether it looks like Wimpy from “Popeye.” If you’re with friends and family, share your observations and compare.

Being unproductive tip No. 7: Read for pleasure

While finding bliss with mindless television can actually be costly (it murders brain cells), reading a book that has nothing at all to do with being an upwardly mobile social climber isn’t quite so expensive. The same holds true for magazines and relatively long pamphlets, provided they aren’t job-related. Read for pleasure, not for information.

Being unproductive tip No. 8: Look at old photos

Reconnect with your past through old photographs. Each has a story to tell, and the trip down memory lane doesn’t cost a penny. Provided the memories are good memories, you’re en route to personal bliss.

Being unproductive tip No. 9: Get in the game

Playing pick-up soccer, baseball or basketball could be viewed as being productive – sharpening skills, improving health – but the element of simply enjoying a game is much less pointed. The joyous state of mind brought on by doing something other than working with a client or buying groceries is a vital part of building the balance between yin and yang in your life.

Being unproductive tip No. 10: Wade or walk

Again, these are things that can be accomplished in the park, although at the river, ocean or walking trail also works. Take off your shoes and feel water and sand between your toes. Let the cool be. You aren’t being productive, and that’s fine. Continue your path by walking at dusk. Observe the changes in the light. Work, bills and other obligations can wait, for a time.



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