The ‘Busy’ Trap

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

New York Times Article: The ‘Busy’ Trap, by Tim Kreider

9 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Thanks for this… It came at the perfect time for me :-)

  2. I love this quote and agree wholeheartedly with it but have a bit of an issue with the practicality of the whole article.

    I sincerely doubt majority of people struggling to survive paycheck to paycheck these days have the ability to escape to an undisclosed location. I’d much rather advocate for finding moments in the day where one discovers their passion and applies their drive to it.

    Entrepreneurship requires both passion and a 24/7 schedule dedicated to that passion. I say be busy living your passions not escape from the reality around you. :)

    just my two cents though

  3. Seeing this quote is great because I always feel bad if I’m idle. I am not sure why I felt like I had to be busy all the time, but I’m glad I no longer have to feel that way!

    I agree with Chris’s comments as well.

  4. Thanks for sharing…I wish more people would understand this as being idle is too often being mistaken for being lazy and unproductive.

  5. Reminds me of noted social psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In his book Creativity, he writes about the virtues of idle time and quotes physicist Freeman Dyson: “I am fooling around not doing anything, which probably means that this is a creative period… I think that it is very important to be idle. I mean they always say that Shakespeare was idle between plays.”

    A mantra for slackers everywhere.

  6. So true! And it’s so looked down upon in some many spaces – professional or not.

  7. The definition of idle is:

    1. not working or active; unemployed; doing nothing: idle workers.
    2. not spent or filled with activity: idle hours.
    3. not in use or operation; not kept busy: idle machinery.
    4. habitually doing nothing or avoiding work; lazy.
    5. of no real worth, importance, or significance: idle talk.

    I think idle is the incorrect word to use for clearing your mind and taking time to step back from your life and examining the way things are done.

    I agree that you need to step back every once in a while to get a fresh view on life and work, but being idle is unproductive.

  8. It’s the summer! I think we could all use a bit of idle time to go out and enjoy the sun!

    Thank for the inspiration Tina.

  9. Thomas Edison apparently did most of his “inventing” sitting in a chair; he would let him self drift, just this side of being asleep, with a small rubber ball in his hands. The ball would fall and wake him if he slept, and he did this because he found that in this unstructured time, he was able to come up with his many ideas for inventions which he then spent long hours in the lab trying to build.