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What is creative leisure and how it can help you at work

Did you know that it’s possible to reconcile moments of rest and leisure with a productive routine and quality work?

Productive leisure – The image of a clock in the center of the screen surrounded by several yellow light bulbs

Have you ever thought about getting ideas to improve your career or business while you enjoy your leisure time? What if we told you that creative leisure is a great way of creating these experiences and further boosting your productivity while you’re working?

Although many people find it hard to work from home, productive leisure can be essential to come up with great ideas, interests, help relax one’s mind and focus during one’s daily activities.

And although words like “leisure” might be related to idleness, you will find out that creative leisure is not synonymous with procrastination, boredom or lack of interest in a particular activity.

Now, if you wish to learn a little more about this concept and how to use it to your advantage at work or your home office, keep reading this article to the end, and find out how creative leisure can change your productivity experience.

What is creative leisure?

Creative leisure is about knowing how to reconcile moments of leisure and work in a balanced manner, preventing any areas of your life from becoming overloaded. 

In other words, you will have the possibility of setting time aside to do things that are truly important and give you pleasure, helping your brain to “relax” and allow you to think about other things besides work.

The concept of creative leisure appeared in the mid-2000s, through studies conducted by Italian professor and sociologist Domenico de Masi.

The scholar defends the idea that adding activities that provide rest and leisure in the middle of one’s workday are essential so the brain can produce new ideas. This also helps keep you motivated regarding your work.

Therefore, if you use creative leisure to your advantage, in addition to staying more productive, you can even become a better professional.

What is the difference between creative leisure and procrastination?

Although the overall concept seems to be the same, there’s a huge difference between creative leisure and procrastination.

Procrastination is related to the act of leaving important tasks to be done at a later time, postponing them for as long as possible. This, besides creating negative results to your day, ends up building up your workload.

Therefore, the professional’s schedule ends up being even more overloaded than usual and can lead the person to peaks of mental fatigue.

On the other hand, creative leisure, despite indicating strategic pauses during the workday, does not suggest that the day’s activities be postponed.

Quite the contrary, the methodology involving a rest period during working hours is done precisely to activate creativity and productivity during the workday, making tasks have better results.

Therefore, knowing how to detect when your rest breaks are related to creative leisure or when they end up being a form of procrastination is critical so that your daily activities aren’t negatively affected.

How does creative leisure work, anyway?

In order for you to be able to include creative leisure into your everyday life, it’s important to understand how it works in practice.

According to studies conducted by De Masi, human beings spend three times more “doing nothing” than performing their professional activities. And because we have so much free time, it’s important to take advantage of it in a strategic way.

There’s no use in removing moments of leisure and pleasure from our schedule. We simply need to organize them intelligently. And forcing the brain to perform activities when it’s not prepared to do so can be a thousand times worse than taking short breaks during your workday.

The important thing is that you can detect activities that make you happy and find pleasure throughout the week and include them in your weekly schedule. In order not to lose control of the situation, learning how to manage your time better is a great alternative.

How to put creative leisure into practice

In order for you to have the best experience during your productive leisure, it’s important to pay attention to certain critical situations so that you don’t waste too much time during your breaks.

At first, this might take you out of your comfort zone. But, by putting all of the tips in practice, you will soon see your performance increase while working.

1. Understand the limits of the human mind

Although much is said about productivity and performance at work, it’s essential that you understand that not all breaks are truly productive. This will depend on your workflow and if your mind is prepared to create something different.

Brilliant ideas don’t always come up during these breaks. But you need to keep these breaks in your schedule to help your brain rest, especially if you’re self-employed or work as a freelancer.

Believe me, the best insights come in moments of complete relaxation and without involving any type of pressure for results.

2. Always have a notepad at hand

Although it sounds like a cliché, one of the best tips for those who wish to include productive leisure into their routine, is to always have a notepad at hand. After all, how many times have you had a great idea and half an hour later, you’ve forgotten it because you didn’t write it down?

Having a notepad to write down good ideas can help you in many aspects. When you revisit the information you wrote down, you can improve internal service processes, optimize functions or even create a business from scratch.

Don’t trust your brain when it comes to insights and creative processes. Write down everything you can and later, filter out any truly relevant information.

3. Take breaks during your workday

Creative leisure isn’t made up of long breaks, but of times when you need your brain to “take a breath” in order to get back to work in a more functional manner.

Sometimes, two fifteen-minute breaks throughout the day can be more effective for your work routine than a single half-hour break in the middle of the day.

Another important tip is to be able to identify when your body begins to present signs of low productivity. This is when rest breaks are critical to keep you working efficiently.

4. Learn to relax every once in a while

Although it seems difficult when we are immersed in our tasks, taking a break every once in a while is essential to keep us alert and especially, not to see our work as an obligation or something negative.

Creative leisure is recommended to provide us with well-being and relaxation during tasks that aren’t always easy to perform.

A few tips of what you can do to spend this time in a more pleasant manner, is to choose activities that you enjoy doing when you’re off work and if possible, fit them into these breaks, such as:

  • Watch an episode of your favorite series
  • Eat a different snack
  • Read a book that has no correlation with your work
  • Play a game
  • Talk to friends
  • Take a nap if possible.

Always remember that the big secret isn’t the excessive time spent on each task, but how you use your time to turn your day into something pleasurable by mixing work and rest.

Is creative leisure recommended for all?

Productive leisure is recommended for anyone who has an intense day of work and notices that their productivity is being directly affected over time.

As you’ve seen throughout this article, the amount of time spent on tasks and leisure is irrelevant as long as your daily tasks are completed as best as possible. You also need to pay attention so that you don’t turn creative leisure into an excuse to procrastinate. Otherwise, none of this will make sense. 

And if you still feel that your productivity is being affected throughout the day, how about learning productivity techniques to help your work be the best it can be?