Woman letting her mind wander

Meaning from Mindless Moments

What should I do now?

At every moment of every day, we have a choice. What should we do? Sometimes we feel productive. Sometimes we feel creative. Sometimes we feel like having fun. How do we decide what to do with this particular moment? What can we do to make this moment as meaningful and fulfilling as it can possibly be?

What about when we feel uninspired? Our time in this life is limited, but does that mean we have to make every second of every day count? If we’re just not feeling it, is it OK to become mindless and browse YouTube videos?

When I’m feeling uninspired or unproductive, I can’t force myself to create or produce. But that doesn’t mean I have to surrender, make myself a drink, and plop down on the couch. There’s a lot of space between not being productive and not doing anything. There’s nothing wrong with mindless entertainment, and we all need some downtime (see Nothing). But if nothing is the only thing we can imagine doing when we’re not feeling productive, then we’re missing out on a wealth of possibilities.

What to do with our minds when we’re feeling mindless

Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker"

Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker”

It can be interesting to see what happens when we allow ourselves time away from being productive or creative and from the usual mindless activities that we engage in when we’re being unproductive. Giving meaning to our uninspired moments can be as easy as sitting down, closing our eyes, and letting our minds go where they will. By giving our minds some time to freestyle, we might get epiphanies or revelations that we wouldn’t otherwise get.

Allowing our minds the freedom to wander is very beneficial in that it gives them a chance to connect ideas that we’ve kept on the back burner with our current issues and challenges. It allows us to make connections between bits of content that our brains often keep apart during our productive time because we typically don’t give our minds the freedom to explore potential connections.

We can also pay closer attention to our senses when we’re feeling unproductive. We can walk in the backyard, listen to the sounds, look at the colors of the leaves and the flowers, pay attention to the scents, feel the breeze on our skin, and gain a better understanding of our environment. Not only can some moments of focused mindfulness fill our uninspired time with meaning, they can also make us more focused when we get back to feeling productive.

We might also explore social connections. Even when we aren’t feeling particularly social, we can take a walk, observe the people that we see along the way, and really notice how they interact and what their emotional states are. We can also think about our place in that social and emotional landscape.

Although downtime is important, uninspired time doesn’t always have to be downtime. It can be a time of reflection, of open-mindedness, and of discovery. There’s never a time when there’s nothing to do and meaning and fulfillment are unavailable to us. We just have to be aware of this and incorporate it into who we are.

Next time you’re feeling uninspired, take your brain out for a walk. The fresh air will do it good.

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  • Nirja January 10, 2019   Reply →

    Thanks for the lovely post.

    • Pete Wiley January 11, 2019   Reply →

      Thank you for reading!

  • Nik January 10, 2019   Reply →

    Furloughed much?

    • Pete Wiley January 11, 2019   Reply →

      More recently …

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