Image for the article titled How To Get Your Work-obsessed Brain To Indulge In Real Free Time

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At this point we know very clearly that there is no such thing as “work-life balance”. This has never happened before during a pandemic, and it definitely doesn’t. And then there is “work hard, play hard”. Do you remember the old chestnut? The assumption was that the harder you work, the richer and more enjoyable your free time will be.

But so many people have never been able to get on the “hard play” stage and have been trapped in a cycle of working hard and then even harder – even if there is supposed to be at least a little play (like on one Holidays). We have been so conditioned to put productivity above everything else that many of us feel guilty or anxious about doing something for pleasure.

In an article for Well + Good, Dr. Perpetua Neo, a clinical psychologist, shares a strategy to help us get our work-obsessed brains to take some free time. Here’s what you should know.

How to convince yourself to take free time

Sure, you can “love” your livelihood, but ideally you have other interests as well. And the thing is, you’d probably like to enjoy some free time – and may even have planned some in the past. But when it comes to actually closing your laptop and putting your phone away, that nagging voice always wins in your head saying, “You should really be working now.”

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This is where Neo’s strategy comes in. She understands that technically the point of leisure is to take a break from the productivity rut and just have fun, which is easier said than done for many people. For Neo:

Let’s start with baby steps and kidnap it with a goal or goal. How will this leisure activity help you? Perhaps it is related to your goal to get healthier or exploring places to improve your photography skills.

If you really enjoy an activity and enjoy other results along the way, it will be easier for you to prioritize your free time.

The idea is to move on to more hardcore free time from here, but this framing could help those who are still convinced that they need to be productive in some way every minute of the day.