Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Great news: Doing nothing is good for you

Relaxing tool: Tubular steel hammock, 1937. (Photo: Daily Herald Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)

In today’s fast-paced world, many of us have trouble finding time to take a moment away from infernal chores or infernal screens just to go for a walk, read a book, or most indulgent of all, enjoy a catnap. As Quartz posits today in the article “The Psychological Importance Of Wasting Time”: “even if we do manage time away from the grind, it comes with a looming awareness of the things we should be doing, and so the experience is weighed down by guilt.”

Fortunately for us all, a new mindset states that downtime is actually good for us. Quartz quotes Alex Soojung-Kim Pan, author of REST: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, who says that “luminaries including Charles Dickens, Gabriel García Márquez, and Charles Darwin had quite relaxed schedules, working for five hours a day or less.” If it worked for famously productive people, shouldn’t that rule also be helpful to the rest of us? Workplace psychologist Michael Guttridge points out in the same article:

“Wasting time is about recharging your battery and de-cluttering,” he says. Taking time to be totally, gloriously, proudly unproductive will ultimately make you better at your job, says Guttridge. But it’s also fulfilling in and of itself.


Sounds good to workaholics like us. In fact, there’s really only one statement we take issue with in this article, and it’s Quartz’s position that “there’s a tendency to turn to the least fulfilling tendency of them all: Sitting at our desk, in front of our computer, browsing websites and contributing to neither our happiness nor our productivity.” Hey now. We know we’re not helping the productivity of those of you now scrolling The A.V. Club during your work hours, but maybe, possibly, a little happiness?

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