This is the year, I told my friends at brunch on New Years Day, that I will manage my time better. And then, I read an article by Oliver Burkeman of The Guardian, who lays out the reasons why time management is ruining our lives. The illusion, he points out, is that there is enough time to do everything that we want or need to do; we just need to figure out how to do it. The reality is that we must decide what is important versus what is not important and use our time accordingly. “We might try to get more comfortable with not being as efficient as possible,” he says, because filling up unused time negates the benefits of having that extra time.
Burkeman speaks on the modern approach to rest and leisure time:
One of the sneakier pitfalls of an efficiency-based attitude to time is that we start to feel pressured to use our leisure time “productively”, too—an attitude which implies that enjoying leisure for its own sake, which you might have assumed was the whole point of leisure, is somehow not quite enough. And so we find ourselves, for example, travelling to unfamiliar places not for the sheer experience of travel, but in order to add to our mental storehouse of experiences, or to our Instagram feeds. We go walking or running to improve our health, not for the pleasure of movement; we approach the tasks of parenthood with a fixation on the successful future adults we hope to create…
Even rest and recreation, in a culture preoccupied with efficiency, can only be understood as valuable insofar as they are useful for some other purpose—usually, recuperation, so as to enable more work.
Perhaps this is the year that I decide that, while work for the sake of a job well done is important, so too is rest for the sake of rest.