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Just a Thought — Wasted time PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, September 07, 2013 12:25 AM

Bertrand Russell said, “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” I want to believe this is true, especially, of course, on the days that I waste a lot of time.

I generally try to be productive and feel like I’m contributing somehow, but then there are those days that I simply cannot motivate myself. No matter how much I tell myself I should get off the couch, turn off the TV, get off the Internet, etc., I just cannot bring myself to do it. I am inert. Then, at the end of the day, I feel guilty for not doing anything meaningful.

I guess what Bertrand Russell meant is, I shouldn’t feel guilty about those “wasted days.” I shouldn’t because I enjoyed them. I enjoyed being lazy, taking a break from work to possibly watch some mind-numbing television or catch up on celebrity gossip. Maybe on those days I don’t help to save the world, but I think we all need some days like that to do nothing once in a while.

Besides, sometimes when we think we’re wasting time, we really aren’t. Our brains are always working, after all. As a writer, everything I encounter is potential for writing a piece. Even when I’m being “unproductive” by watching TV, I can get an idea for an article. Studies have shown that the same thing can happen to individuals in all sorts of professions. You can be standing in line at the bank and something you see can trigger an idea to present at your next work meeting. Sometimes when we think our brains are “off,” they come up with the most creative ideas.

I can relate to this. I don’t get my best writing ideas when I force myself to write. I can barely get anything out then. I get my best ideas when I’m driving my car or taking a shower, just “zoning out.” Not the exact scenarios in which you’d imagine a writer to brainstorm, but that’s how it happens. Once my mind is relaxed and not under pressure to come up with something good, that’s when the “something’s good” start coming. If I tell myself, ‘I’m going to write today,’ and I have no motivation or inspiration, it won’t happen. I’ll sit, staring at a blank screen forever. Something has to inspire me in order for me to write, and that usually happens when I’m far away from a computer.

What about you? Can you relate to this at all? In what ways? Think about it, maybe the next time you’re “wasting time.” Just remember, it’s not really wasted at all.


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