I feel productivity is a topic that doesn’t get addressed enough outside of a professional atmosphere, and when it is, there’s an over emphasis on tools while casting high level concepts aside. Concepts such as the idea of effectively using time.
Productivity: Energy vs. Time
I believe there’s a misunderstanding between the idea of wasting time and wasting energy. You might think I’m using semantics here, but I’m not. I believe wasting time is an impossibility because time itself is not in our control. Like the weather, we have no say over how it moves.
Let’s look at the understanding of some divine guidance.
When it comes to the concept of time, whether it’s our limited time on this world, or the fact that we’ll be held accountable in the time hereafter, by default we as a people are in loss. Except, those who fulfill their trust and duty toward the Creator, Engage with problems, whether they’re inflicting individuals or communities, in a way that not only are they solved, but made to thrive better than before. In addition they advocate for truth and justice while exemplifying it, and advocate for patience while also demonstrating patience themselves. (Quran, Surat Al Asr)
If you look closely, whether it’s submitting to the Divine Creator, being a righteous individual, advocating for truth, justice and patience, each instance is an action. All action requires energy. Thus its not about the time that we manage or waste, but it’s about managing the energy we have so that we’re not in loss due to the inevitable passing of time.
Spectator Sports and Entertainment as Passion
I don’t believe that it’s humanly possible to be “productive” all the time. We need down time. Only Allah is in no need or rest. Spectator sports and entertainment are great down timers and a way to effectively disengage.
But, what happens if we take it beyond down time?
These “time-wasters” are a great expression of our individual interests and passions. It’s how we engage with popular culture and society, which by the way in my humble understanding of who we are as human beings is a basic human need.
When looking into the above divine guidance, the Arabic word used for “humanity” is “insaan,” which is rooted in the word “ins” (alif-noon-seen), meaning:
to be or become sociable, companionable, conversation, inclined to company or conversation
(Source: Project Root List)
Its through popular culture that we connect socially, meet and befriend people where we otherwise would never have.
Keep Productivity and Entertainment in Balance
In addition to being socially connected, which fulfill our emotional needs of the heart, we also have needs of the mind, body, and soul. Just as entertainment is a means of fulfilling the social aspect of our lives, which I believe is a form of productivity, we also have to prioritize making progress in other facets of our life.