Admittedly, I do tend to subscribe to erudite things that I don’t always read (the irony will become evident) but there seems to be an absolute bias in the articles that get delivered to my inbox. For example, here is a miniscule selection from the last couple of days:
“’12 Habits That Destroy Your Focus And Productivity’
‘How To Get More Work Done In A Day That Most People Do In A Week.’
‘The Most Productive Thing You Can Do With 10 Free Minutes Alone’
These articles are all interesting and contain fabulous material. I don’t mean to diminish them at all. What they do seem to point to though, when seen en masse, is a fascination with, or an obsession over, maybe even an expectation of, total and consuming productivity in all aspects of our lives. There seems to be a need for us to be, or be seen to be, or feel as if we are using every minute as effectively as possible in order to get ahead or make the most of the time and resources we have at our disposal.
There is also research, however, into boredom and down-time. Some say that these things are essential for creative ingenuity – particularly boredom as it is the brain’s desire to get out of this uncomfortable situation that leads to new thoughts and innovative ideas. The believers in this line of thinking would be concerned if every moment was already productive. How could we then, in this replete state, create anything new?
Amusingly, though, even the boredom researchers are using that apparently passive mode to create new productivity, thus effectively destroying that very state of boredom or that down-time. What about those genuinely unproductive periods that we all crave. Are they not important in their own right, too? I often have times when I watch a great deal of sport on television. There is no advancement of me or humankind. Nothing physical or intellectual is produced. It is simply lazy time. Holiday time. An opportunity to intersperse something with nothing.
Being productive is great. I think we get an enormous amount of satisfaction and worth from being that way. I also think the times we just give in to reclining on the couch and taking in the surroundings, or a movie, or a book, or whatever, are important punctuation marks in our day of dialogue and commentary.
So, to an unashamed cup of tea and a lie-down …