“We do not know today whether we are busy or idle. In times when we thought ourselves indolent, we have afterwards discovered, that much was accomplished, and much was begun in us.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience”
During several interviews on this tour, I have joked about how enormously lazy I really am. During a phone interview yesterday, Daniel Boscaljon lightly pushed back. As an article in Psychology Today put it, “Laziness should not be confounded with procrastination or idleness.”
I’m a big fan of productive procrastination: a kind of promiscuous working in which I procrastinate on one project by working on another, sometimes switching between two or more projects until all the projects are done.
I’m also a practitioner of intentional idleness: blocking off time in which I can do absolutely nothing. (Like Terry Gilliam, I would like to be known as an “Arch Idler.”) “Creative people need time to just sit around and do nothing,” I wrote in Steal Like An Artist. (See Jenny Odell’s How To Do Nothing, Robert Louis Stevenson’s An Apology for Idlers, Tom Hodgkinson’s “The Idle Parent,” Tim Kreider’s “The ‘Busy’ Trap,” etc. )
Finally, I’m a huge believer in the benefits of boredom.