I am never bored, and I am an expert at spending leisure time. When there are 100 people in the room I am less conscientious than 82 of them (understandmyself.com). I would not be one of the victims when the world’s economy is fully automated and taken over by robots because I will have no problem finding enough activities for me to spend my time on.

For example, in the last two weeks, I spend 52 hours on video games; watched and listened to a number of long podcasts; watched various Star Trek episodes; followed the FIFA World Cup, le Tour de France, and Formula 1 races; started reading two books and read at least 20 articles from Hacker News and Blendle; and I watched the CrashCourse YouTube series on world history and study skills. This leisure time is on top of more social activities like playing tennis, family time and going to birthday parties.

I can do all this without a shred of guilt or a feeling that I have to be more productive. In comparison, when my girlfriend (the mother of my child) has a day off, she will spend most of her time cleaning the house, re-organizing the closets or filling her agenda with social activities. She is not happy with an empty schedule. However, I do recognize that most of my leisure activities are somewhat a waste in the sense that they do not provide lasting value. Furthermore, I do notice that they do distract me when I am doing productive work or that I am less immersed when spending time with my son.

In retrospect, I wish I could replace most of the activities where I consume content without a clear purpose with actions that are more valuable. What if I spent the time playing video games in learning how to play new songs on the guitar instead? Or what if instead of reading all these articles I spend the time writing articles? Would it be better when I go cycling instead of watching other people cycle? Would my relationships improve when I stop using my phone for content consumption? Let’s find out!

The challenge

The challenge is to ban most content consumption for a month and replace them with more valuable activities. The hope is that I get a better feeling about how I want to spend my leisure time in the future.

Forbidden activities:

  • Watching TV
  • Following sports (exception of the WK final)
  • Playing video games
  • Reading of articles or books when it is not directly related to something I work on
  • Podcasts
  • YouTube videos (except when one of the allowed activities requires it)
  • Following any form of news
  • Reading social media

Allowed activities:

  • Listening to music
  • Making music
  • Playing sports
  • Writing
  • Offline social events (including board games)
  • Gamification of habits in Habitica
  • Working
  • Cooking
  • Be Bored
  • Meditation
  • Web WhatsApp

Want to join?

Do you have a similar pattern with spending your leisure time? Then please join the challenge and make it public in the comments (can be anonymous) or create your own challenge. I will start today and the challenge ends on the 12th of August. I post a follow-up article somewhere after that date to report how the challenge went.

Categories: Challenge


Diede · July 15, 2018 at 10:43 am

Interesting, maybe Lotte can try the reverse challenge. Looking forward to the follow-up!

    nielsvandermolen · July 17, 2018 at 6:21 am

    Thanks Diede! I think that would be more difficult for her than this challenge.

Andreas · August 11, 2018 at 9:40 pm

Will you write a story about your experience? I see tomorrow is the last day 😉

    nielsvandermolen · August 12, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Yes, I will write a follow-up article about the experience (can be in a couple of weeks). A short teaser: I did fail the challenge but learned quite a bit.

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