One of the first posts I ever wrote on this blog was called How NOT To Live Every Day Like It’s Your Last, which basically considered the idea that maybe we all need to chill the fuck out on this notion of constantly “seizing the day”. Every time I see one of those memes on Facebook or Instagram about making the most of my life, I want to remind the author that anyone who was actually out there doing that, would probably be too busy heli-skiing or wreck diving to spend half an hour at their computer overlaying inspirational messages onto Kelvin filtered photos of a bunch of people on a beach, jumping into the air at sunset. So get off my case alright?
It’s important that we take advantage of the odd occasion to be absolutely useless. Days spent doing nothing can be hugely effective in recharging our batteries and serve as rewards for all those productive days we’ve spent exhaustively chasing our dreams. In fact, having a purposefully unproductive day is one of my favorite things to do and has become a ritual that I look forward to with more fervor than most people will their wedding day or the birth of a child. I start planning them days in advance. However, if you’re not careful, you can really screw them up. For many of us out there, the joy of being intentionally (or unintentionally) unproductive can easily be sabotaged by feelings of guilt over not doing anything or panic over the things you have to do following your respite, which kind of defeats the whole purpose. To avoid those pitfalls, I’m going to be sharing with you my own personal formula for making the most of a day off without hating yourself at the end of it. And after years of fine tuning, you can believe that I’ve got this down to a science. Starting with:
Have A Productive Week First
This is an important one. I’m not saying there isn’t satisfaction to be gained from laying your lazy ass out all day after a week of sub-par successes but making significant progress at your job or at the gym will make doing nothing but watching TV and stuffing your face that much more enjoyable. Guilt is the number one killer of lazy days. Instead of relaxing, you spend the entire time saying “I should be doing this. I should be doing that.” to the point where you can’t even concentrate on the marathon of TV shows you’ve been saving up. But if you feel like you truly deserve it, a day doing nothing can inspire Christmas morning type excitement. I’ll frequently wake up at the crack of dawn and think “It’s here! It’s here! It’s here!” before popping out of bed and diving into my couch.
Go Out The Night Before
Why is it that on the days I have to work, I feel like I could sleep til noon yet on my days off, I’m usually up before the bagel shop opens? It’s highly irritating when you look forward to sleeping in all week and then when the time comes, you look at your phone and see it’s like 7:33. I find that going out the night before helps tremendously, not to mention, a greasy egg and cheese sandwich just tastes better when you’re slightly hungover.
Invite A Friend
My two favorite hangover buddies are Vanna and Jeff. If I’m lucky enough to have either one of them by my side, we spend all day under a blanket, with our limbs draped over one another, watching awful movies and arguing about who’s going to call for deliveries. It’s awesome. And if you haven’t had a productive week leading up to your productive day, having a friend to slack off with can alleviate some of the guilt as you’ll likely spend most of it laughing together about who’s the bigger loser.
The last thing you want to do on your day of doing nothing, is hop in your car and head to the liquor store. I won’t usually start my morning off with an alcoholic beverage if I’m alone, but if I’ve got a friend over, it’s fun to wake up with a little Baileys in your coffee or in my case, Midnight Moon in a hot chocolate. During a recent day of debauchery, I woke up still somewhat inebriated from the evening before and took a swig from the mason jar full of booze sitting on my coffee table before remarking to Jeff “Look Jeff! It’s got a cinnamon stick in it!” to which he replied flatly “Yes Kelly. There’s a cinnamon stick. In the moonshine that you’re drinking, at 8 o’clock in the morning.” Whatever! I’m just saying it’s good to have a few key things on hand. Where I live I can practically have anything delivered but if that’s not how it is where you are, make sure you’ve got chips and dip and ice cream and frozen pizzas and whatever else you might need to have you satiated throughout the day. Other ways to be prepared are having a full DVR or whatever trashy magazines you’re into within reach.
Make It Be Raining Outside
This is probably easier said than done but clear skies are the beginning of a “seize the day” type trap that’s very easy to fall into. Once it’s sunny and beautiful outside, there’s all this pressure to go out an enjoy it. Friends start texting you going “Oh my God, it’s so nice out! Let’s do something!” P.S. I’m totally that friend when I’m in a different kind of mood. However, when I’m hiding from the world, I don’t want to see rays of light shining through my curtains and hear revelers outside of my window because then I think to myself well maybe I’ll just have brunch? If you’re not careful though, brunch can turn into a museum or a flea market or Christ, something like ice skating and then next thing you know, you’re having a productive day. Obviously you can’t control the weather, but if you have the choice between vegging on a Saturday or a Sunday and it’s raining on Saturday, well then…you know. Speaking of which…
Have The Next Day Off
The only thing that can kill an unproductive day worse than guilt is the prospect of having to be productive the day after. For me, it’s usually around 4 P.M. that a panic over the upcoming week starts to set in, effectively ruining the rest of my lazing about. If possible, it’s better to have the following day free to get little things done so you don’t spend the remainder of your free time freaking out over going back to work and you feel somewhat prepared for when you do.
Don’t Write A Post On How To Have An Unproductive Day On A Productive Day
Seriously, all this talk about eating, drinking and sleeping is making me pretty annoyed that it’s Tuesday. Only five more days to go!
I better start getting ready.