The Importance of Wasting Time

30 Sep

For most people today, Time is the one commodity that isn’t meant to be whiled away or spent mindlessly. In a culture that rewards relentless productivity, the idea of sitting around doing nothing is considered preposterous.

My mother, a confirmed proponent of ‘Hard work is the key to success’ impressed upon me the virtues of ‘Early to rise’ and ‘Keep busy’.  She considered Down time – a complete waste of time. All through my growing years I saw her busy all day, either at work, or cooking, or running errands. To her ‘doing nothing’ was a bad habit that needed to be weeded out at the earliest.

This indoctrination stayed with me for a large part of my adult life, so much so, that on days when I paused to just ‘BE’ [Do nothing Productive], guilt stuck out his ugly head serving me a generous helping of blame and shame.

To me ‘being productive’ was linked to my self worth and this made ‘Doing nothing ‘a scary place to be in. Letting go of my borrowed beliefs, I deliberately began taking time out of my routine to do things I enjoy. It was during these times that I came to realize that Life is a process of discovery and being trapped in this busyness only stalls that process.

Whiling away my time revealed to me the things I enjoy doing, things I care about and the things that don’t matter to me.

Sometimes these carefree hours provided an opportunity to reflect – like a huge mirror in front of me – to make sense of my life; to understand how the dots connect.

Today, I have released myself from my personal Alcatraz – where doing nothing meant I’m lazy or slacking.

Now I take breaks between work.

I go out for a long walk by the beach

I sit in a café, sipping coffee and people watching

I Meet up with friends and talk just about anything

I don’t wait for weekends to to engage in my personal pursuits. I choose every day to further the discovery process that life unfolds. Its during times like these that my mind is revived with clarity and new insights.

To me, Idleness is an investment, one that involves deliberate rest; one that helps gain fresh perspectives on various matters; one that keeps me happier and more tuned into life.

I am no more a part of the ‘Cult of busyness’. The sentence ‘I don’t have time’ doesn’t apply to me anymore. I make time to be unproductive, giving in to my meandering mind and experiencing the joy and vitality that comes along with it.

This ‘wasted time’ is a pursuit in itself. It helps me recharge and ultimately get more work done – A time well spent.

I definitely recommend all my readers intermittently ‘unplug’ and have periods of time that are completely unstructured to get that zing back into life.



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