We all know how it starts. One innocent little Google search leads to another and then another. Pretty soon we’re on I Can Has Cheezburger, staring at page after page of cute/silly/stupid/funny animals doing whatever until our butts are numb. Or that one game of solitaire or Bejeweled turns into fifty (give or take a few dozen). Or, that search through the pantry for the candy bar we hid results in a complete reorganization of our food storage system which naturally leads us to finally alphabetize those DVDs and sort the clothes in our closet by color and season.
When we come to our senses, the guilt sets in. We’ve just wasted time.
*gasp* Oh the horror!
We all know how evil it is to waste time. After all, time is precious, time is money and wasting time means we’re throwing away valuable minutes and hours we can never recover. Whatever project we were supposed to be working on will take that much longer. There can be nothing redeeming about wasting time.
Or can there?
According to author and entrepreneur Seth Godin, wasting time well is key to a happy, creative and productive life. It gives us a chance to relax and experiment, to work on a project just for the joy of it. Time well wastes replenishes our creativity and is a boon to our productivity.
But what exactly is time well wasted?
That would be time that we spend freely playing, letting ourselves decompress and explore. When we are done wasting time well, we should feel refreshed, ready to tackle new projects and see challenges in a new light.
Clearly not all wasted time is well wasted, as many last-minute college papers and haphazardly thrown together projects can testify, but neither is all wasted time another form of procrastination.
The trick is to know the difference and to only waste as much time as we need to replenish ourselves.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to waste time (well, I hope):
- StumbleUpon: Flipping through web pages based on a particular interest is incredibly relaxing and inspires my biweekly Friday Stumbles.
- Games on the iPhone or iPad: Currently, I’m playing The Tribez but I’ve also enjoyed many well-wasted hours with Plants vs Zombies. I do have to watch myself with games like these as it’s very easy to go from time well wasted to just plain old wasted time.
- Rearranging stuff: Yeah, I know. Probably a weird way to waste time. But I sometimes get the urge to overhaul the bookshelves or rearrange the living room furniture.
- Browsing bookstores and libraries with no real intention of buying/checking out anything.