Non-Productivity: An Emotional Experience

Last week I wrote about how lately I am trying to be a little more non-productive. Another way to say that is that I’m trying to be very productive in my mornings so that I can spend the rest of the day out in the world screwing around.

You see, after 5 years of optimizing my workflow and organizing my life around work – I found that I had done such a good job, I had boxed myself in.

I take a few long breaks a year, normally workcations based around the holidays. I head out to Oklahoma almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas for a week or two each time. I attend a conference every once and a while for 3-5 days and on rare occasions I put the laptop down and disappear to an island somewhere for a few weeks to enjoy some real downtime.

But other than that – I’m mainly working. Monday through Sunday, off and on from 6:00am to 10:00pm. And after many years, I’ve had enough.

So I decided to optimize my schedule to put more of a focus on exploring the outside world and Enjoying Life.

A few days ago I went out on one such adventure and decided to document what happened. During the course of the day I had two Uber rides, bought one iPhone case and had a religious / emotional experience with The LA Inner City Mass Choir.

Watch the video below to see how it all went down. (Or read the entire story below)

Breaking The Routine

After completing my normal morning routing of wake up, liquids, work, gym, work I decided to call Uber at 10:30am and get out of the house. I wanted to hit The Grove, a shopping center / hangout spot a few miles away from me in Hollywood.

I always enjoy my Uber rides. All but one experience has been positive and it gives me a chance to ride around and talk to someone who I’d never have met otherwise. I’ve had some really great conversations and then the one time I mentioned earlier where the drive was ranting about his inventions and how he’d been blacklisted by the FBI from the moment I opened the door to get in to the moment I got out of the car. That dude was nuts.

But today’s ride was great and I arrived at the Grove in about 15 minutes, total cost $7, about the same price as parking at the parking garage.

The Grove was hopping, the sun was shining and I felt great.

I picked up a few black tank tops at The Gap, hit the Apple Store for an iPhone case and headed to the Farmer’s Market to grab an apple. At that point I was pretty much done with my trip.

Then, I headed back into the main open area of the Grove and saw that an event of some sort was happening. A guy was talking to a crowd of people sitting at tables about the bank he worked for. It was boring and awful.

When he was done, a band walked up onstage and started lightly playing some really funky music. I got interested and walked up closer to the stage to see what was going to happen.

The LA Inner City Mass Choir

I noticed there were about 20 teenagers lined up in one area and they were all wearing the same t-shirts, with the number 25 printed on the back. I thought maybe they were a team of some sort.

To my surprise they all walked onstage at once as an announcer yelled out “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Los Angeles Inner City Mass Choir!”.

The band burst into heavy-hitting Gospel music and the choir took off – all 20 voices at once. It was like a chorus of angels were singing, dancing and waving their arms.

I was instantly overtaken by emotion and tears welled up in my eyes. I broke out my iPhone and started filming. For about 15 minutes I was locked in their embrace, feeling every drum beat, bass line and lyric throughout my entire body.

As it turns out, I love Gospel music. Who knew?

As they wound down their performance I put my phone away, hailed Uber and headed back home. Little did I know that by taking a few hours off of work and getting out of the house I’d have an emotional, religious experience with a Gospel choir I’d never heard of.

It just goes to show, working 24/7 is probably no longer an optimal lifestyle for me – I’m missing out on everything.


If you’re working yourself to death and need a break. I suggest you take one sooner than later. It’s really easy to put yourself into a position where work is the only that matters and forget that there’s a big, real world out there full of good things.

Sure, you need to focus and work your ass off to make things happen in your life, but there isn’t a damn thing wrong with taking a break and going out and experiencing the world from time to time.

It’s becoming clearer to me now that sometimes, a heavy dose of non-productivity is the most productive thing you can do.

See you out there.

P.S. If you like the videos, click here to subscribe to the YouTube channel.

  • Ronny

    I totally agree with you but we need to be very careful with “going out to have fun” because if we do it to much we can be addicted to it.

    There tons of ways to have fun inside our house like reading books, room redesign, praying, playing with our kids, chatting with family, etc.

    All we need is balance between business and social life. But sometimes people forget.

    Am I right?

    • Malan Darras

      yes, there are plenty of things you can do in the house, but for me, the main thing is that i’m breaking out of my bubble and getting out into the world. totally different experience for me

  • Ben O

    agreed. my favorite thing to do non productively is to surf really big waves. its the ultimate meditation. nothing else matters but where you are in the ocean at that moment.

    • Malan Darras

      Ben, I need to try that.

      • Petre Veluda

        Or kitesurfing, because we have more wind than waves in our part of the world and it’s really fun!

  • med al

    you’ll realise that that’s the best decision you’ve ever made, when you realise that we’re all going to die is just a tool, its not a purpose.
    live for your purpose and use the tools to achieve it 🙂

    • Malan Darras

      agreed. thanks

  • Petre Veluda

    I remember you saying this all the time, if I would start over, I would take more time off from work, more vacations, even if it’s for a few days. And that’s true as most of my ideas bump in my head when my mind is clear and I have nothing to do, like when I’m in an airplane not reading, not doing anything.

    I think the same applies here.

    • Malan Darras

      yeah i don’t think i’ve ever solved a problem sitting in my desk chair. it normally happens during a walk, shower or something like that