Why Wasting Time Is Highly Productive

By Shlomo Maital

Wasting time 

   Recently, I found myself on a train from Haifa to Tel Aviv, a journey of almost one hour, without anything to do. No computer, newspaper, book, Kindle…nothing.  Empty wasted time. 

   I designed this empty wasted time on purpose.  The reason?  There is nothing more efficient than wasted time.  Here is why.

    Our busy modern lives are organized and a version of Parkinson’s Law says, things to do expand, expand, and expand, to fill every single waking moment.  I see people who, with empty time, stare blankly at their cell phones. 

     But when you have completely empty time, without anything to do, your mind relaxes. It wanders.  It soars outward, zooms out, to see those around you. (In buses, which I ride frequently, there are always four seats facing backward. Those seats are always empty, even when the bus is crowded; nobody wants to look at other people. I always take them and observe the bus riders, it is fascinating).  It dives inward, to explore your inner mind.  There are always things locked in our subconscious, screaming to be released, but we never listen to them, because, well, we’re too busy.   You’d be surprised what your subconscious mind will toss at you, if only you listen.

   On my ‘wasted time’ ride, my subconscious came up with a plot for a science fiction novel.  It wasn’t an idle thought, because it refused to go away, and it’s still there. One day I will write it. 

     Schedule yourself some wasted time. Let your mind wander.  Some of us like to jog for that reason; nobody can call you or bother you, and the physical activity relaxes the body and lets the mind float free for a half hour. 

     Practice the art of wasted time. Few things are more productive.