The link between leisure and productivity

November 2, 2017

MidlandsLife Logo 2

By Brian Maynor


It’s hard to believe that just fifteen years ago we left our work at the office.

As technology has developed over that time, the boundaries surrounding our work space have blurred, causing over 65% of us to feel we are never truly away from work.  Given that our work is our livelihood, the pressure to excel is constant, along with the belief that excelling means we should always be available.
Sadly, there are only so many hours in a day, which means if we spend all our time working we are cutting out our leisure time and that is a huge mistake.

Leisure time is essential to productivity.  Instead of cutting it out, we should focus on finding more ways to carve out and enjoy our time away from work.  Here is a recap of why leisure time is important to productivity:

1.   There is a limit to productivity.  Believe it or not, a study by the Institute for the Study of Labor found that 55 hours/week is the maximum ceiling on human productivity.  While we most certainly work more hours, the amount of productivity between someone working 80 hours/week is roughly the same as someone working 54 hours/week.  The extra hours tend to be filled with distractions, interruptions and other non-productive time drains.

2.     Creativity requires downtime.  As we’ve talked about recently with purposeful daydreaming, our mind cannot be creative, innovative or inspired when it is focused on cognitive tasks.  Creativity requires diffuse thinking, which only comes when we allow it to relax and run wild.

3.     Leisure is a commodity.  Yes, the field of economics considers leisure a normal commodity yielding satisfaction.  We spend our downtime resting, interacting with loved ones, building relationships, and generally doing things we enjoy.  Thus, if we decrease our amount of leisure time we are decreasing our satisfaction with life.

That all sounds great, but we all know it’s hard to just stop working and do something fun, especially when we know how much there is to get done.  Fortunately, there are a few ways we can work in more leisure time that is both practical and a productivity booster, so you don’t have to feel guilty about it:

4.    Only do what’s important.  This may seem odd given that our leisure time should be spent doing things we enjoy, but we all know not everything we enjoy has equal importance.  For example, we may enjoy binge watching the second season of Stranger Things, but that isn’t as important as getting sleep.  Not to bash watching TV, but that seems to be the default form of downtime that doesn’t give us anything back.  Think about multitasking downtime so that we can enjoy more of the things we love in the same amount of time.  For example, listening to a podcast while running or working out, or taking a group class for a hobby you enjoy.  These activities provide the same decompression and escapism as watching TV with a lot more added benefits.

5.    Flip your schedule.  We all tend to do better with calendars, reminders and schedules in general and during the week those schedules are focused on work.  Why not keep a good thing going over the weekend, just change the focus to be on things we enjoy?  Block out time for those first and let work obligations fill in the gaps.  That way our schedules are always centered around what is important.

We all know people are slaves to their work.  They live their lives like drones, mindlessly moving from one task to another getting very little enjoyment from life.  That sounds very bleak and miserable, and the only way to avoid it, or change it, is with downtime.  Work may always be there, but that doesn’t mean we have to deal with it 24/7.

Click here or on the images below to learn more about the outfit.

Click here or on the images below to learn more about the outfit.


About Brian Maynor

Brian Maynor has built a reputation as one of the leading style coaches in the Southeast and is quickly expanding his eponymous company, BRIAN MAYNOR and his FIND, FLATTER & FLAUNT line of image consulting services. A professional with a fresh, upbeat and down-to-earth personality and boundless creative energy, he works frequently with with local celebrities; Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations; modeling agencies; fashion designers; production companies; record labels; media and individuals. A regular contributor to various fashion blogs and online communities, Brian Maynor is one of the most trusted and recognized style experts in the region, utilizing his education and training as a broadcast journalist to serve as a style lecturer, emcee, and commentator for over a decade. He has appeared at fashion shows, expos, and charity fundraisers, as well as events with big brands like Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Chico’s and Macy’s. His approach is innovative, creative and fashion-forward, balancing fresh, modern styles with classic pieces to keep one’s look grounded. To learn more, visit


MidlandsLife Logo 2

Sign up here to start your free subscription to MidlandsLife!