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Student Blog: Productivity and Downtime

I've been feeling guilty about enjoying my time off, and I think I've found a way to counter that.

Student Blog: Productivity and Downtime

Hey BroadwayWorld!

Summer is almost upon us! That means it's time to kick back and unwind. Or at least, that's what I try to tell myself. See, I have a really hard time with "downtime". There's always a voice in the back of my head telling me that I should be doing something more productive, or that I'm "wasting time". I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. It's really easy to tell yourself to take a break, but sometimes that nagging feeling just won't go away, and that makes it difficult to enjoy your hard earned time off.

My personal to-do list is expansive. At any given moment, I'm working multiple jobs, working on various creative projects (some of them collaborative), and spending time with friends (especially now that folks are starting to get vaccinated). So even though school has ended for the year, the workload has not. Which also means the burnout isn't gone either. And that's not a bad thing. I love all the things I throw myself into. However, no matter how passionate we are, all commitments can tend to get a bit draining.. I've noticed this a lot when it comes to theatre.

I love theatre (shocker), so it's no wonder I've thrown myself into it head first, both academically and extracurricularly. Even outside of theatre, I tend to gravitate towards things like music and creative writing. These are all fairly productive hobbies. So even if I'm not working on a theatre related project, I can't really turn the productive part of my brain off.

For example, this past week, I decided to take some time to listen through Olivia Rodrigo's new album SOUR. It was phenomenal, and I was really enjoying myself. But upon re-listening, I couldn't shake a thought out of my head: why wasn't I writing songs right now? So, I did just that, and started to write a pop song. It was coming out decently, but I couldn't get the music quite right. I was frustrated. I was stressing myself out. After a few hours, I abandoned the song, which I try very hard to never do.

But then, after a few days, I went back. I figured out what the issue was, and I kept working on it. I gave myself levity and kindness. And I think I've discovered something important about what works best for me in these types of situations.

The pandemic gave us a lot of free time, and it allowed us to try new things. I've found that my interests outside of the arts are incredibly important. For me, that might be rewatching some of my favorite TV shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender, reading comic books, or playing video games (Animal Crossing, anyone?). I'm still consuming art, but I'm consuming things that bring me joy. This allows me to turn off my artist brain and let something pleasant wash over me. Having interests outside of theatre is so important for this reason. As an artist, your art form can become all consuming. I go months where I eat, sleep, and breathe musicals. Nothing else crosses my mind. But having other interests and hobbies allows you to recalibrate. Not everything you do has to serve some greater purpose. Sometimes, you have to just take care of yourself. After all, you're only human.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Michael Scuotto