Entertaining Yourself Can Be Productive

Not all entertainment is a waste of time, including watching TV

Danny Forest


Illustration by the author. Original photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Almost daily, my wife tells me that she feels bad about watching so much TV. She’s on maternity leave and spends a great deal of time with our son. She’s constantly playing with him and researching new ways to take care of him. She’s a stellar mom and does everything right.

So what if she watches TV when he’s sleeping on her or in his bed? This keeps her sane. That’s what matters. Through watching TV, she recharges her batteries so she is more capable of handling the tough situations when I can’t be around.

I frequently find myself escaping to video games after work. I often beat myself up about it too. But if I did something else considered productive, I’d just burn out. When you have your entertainment under control, there’s hardly anything more productive to do for the long-term.

In a 2019 survey, 32 percent of US adults reported being more anxious in 2019 than they were the year before. Can you imagine what the numbers will be like for 2020? I’d be surprised if it’s not closer to 90 percent.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of American (ADAA) suggests 14 ways you can relieve your stress. Topping their list is taking time out. You could try mediation, breathing exercises, yoga and all that stuff, but sometimes, all you need is good-old mindless entertainment.

How to use entertainment productively?

The most simple answer is to entertain yourself when you don’t have any energy left. Avoid spending time on entertainment when you’re most energetic if you have more productive things to do, like work, taking care of someone, school, etc.

The main issue with entertainment is that the dopamine rush you get out of it only lasts while you’re still engaging with the activity. Entertainment rarely gives you a boost of energy, but rather, it prevents you from losing more and helps you rest. And as you know, rest is important to recharge your batteries, so to speak.

How much time should I spend on entertainment?



Danny Forest

Polymath. Life Optimizer. Learner. Entrepreneur. Engineer. Writer.