The Value of Unstructured Empty Time in Your Life

Marvin Liao
2 min readMay 11, 2024

I have a hard time with an empty, unscheduled day. I’ve been taught to always be busy. It was how I grew up and how I built my career, working my ass off. I feel guilty when I don’t do anything.

But I always remind myself to think about Naval Ravikant’s quote “Creativity starts with an empty calendar and ends with a full one.”

I keep harping on this point but it’s so important for one’s mental health and productivity.

I try to keep at least 2–3 days a week with a completely empty calendar. During these days I just chill and do whatever I feel like. Watch Netflix or videos on YouTube, read a book or surf the Internet. Maybe I’ll write or do some errands or chores. The day is totally free to do whatever I want.

The reality as an investor and business owner, I’m always thinking of my business and my investments anyways, at least in the back of your head. But I’m in the creative business so mindlessly grinding away at it is not always the best way forward. Especially when my work is about innovation and insight. It’s not a factory or manual labor job which is about straight up direct inputs and outputs.

I’m an introvert, so this solitary time is especially effective and appealing to me. But this is important for both introverts and extroverts who are in the creative business and especially entrepreneurs.

Yes, sometimes you have to grind things out and put in the hours. But remember that breakthrough ideas and insights happen in unstructured relaxing time.

This pacing is important and you should remember that it’s a marathon not a sprint.



Marvin Liao

Ever curious: Tsundoku, Reader, Aspiring Shokunin, World traveller, Investor & Tech/Media exec interested in almost everything!