Gray Time

Imagine time as black and white, where black is work time, and white is playtime. If our days were a chessboard of activity, we’d starkly transform from work to play and play to work and have clear compartmentalization.

The reality is that we mix colors: We muddle our time and spend many hours dwelling in shades of gray.

Tim Urban (you can’t write an article about procrastination without mentioning Tim) calls this the “dark playground.” Instead of doing our work, we scroll social media, dive into YouTube rabbit holes, and generally have a terrible time having “fun” because our subconscious knows it’s tainted.

If you look objectively at your day, you might find that work requires fewer hours than you think—you might only have 5 hours of tasks. But when you muddle those 5 hours with unplanned distractions, they can expand and dilute the sanctity of your day.

Work, then play. The stark contrast will help you be more effective during worktime and enjoy more playtime.