In the hectic rush for the dopamine burst that comes with achievement and the unrelenting impact of a never-ending list of things to do, rather than working harder and longer to get things done and relieve the pressure, author Tom Hodgkinson has another strategy: spend time doing nothing.
We think achievement will make us happy, but it is easy to notice that we rarely sit with the joy of a completed task for more than a few moments before our mind moves on to the next thing on the list.
We rarely, if ever, get to the end of our lists, always adding more and more things, especially if the list is looking dangerously short.
Even a break can be a time to do more. I wonder about the impact of not having a break since COVID has had on many of us as we continue to spin our hamster wheels.
We think achievement will make us happy, but perhaps doing so much is like bingeing on too much of a good thing.
In his book How to be Idle, Hodgkinson draws our attention to society's unfulfilling obsession with achievement and the down sides of the protestant work ethic.
He suggests idleness can be an antidote to a work-obsessed and over-scheduled culture. Hodgkinson suggests that we need to be idle to settle our minds, daydream, reflect and be creative.
Taking time to do nothing at all - long lunches, naps, leisurely walks - is really living.
Perhaps we need idle time to defrag our brains?
When will you next schedule idle time?