What if wasting time isn’t a waste of time?

What if fiddling around sorting receipts, tidying your desk and ticking off small, basic, non-urgent tasks is actually what you should be doing right now?  (Yes, even with that looming deadline.)  What if your body and brain need some down time and faffing in a semi-productive way is a way to create that much-needed space?

Reams and reams have been written about how to avoid procrastination.  I doubt Dickens was the first, and he certainly wasn’t the last, but he’s probably one of the best known: Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him. We all talk about wasting time  as if it were a bad thing.

But today I beg to differ.  Fiddly little jobs are a good way to ease into the working day, and on a good day you could find yourself doing the ‘real’ work without really noticing.  On a bad day, at least you will have done something.

What’s more, you will have reduced the amount of time you have to do the big job you’ve been putting off.  Yes, this is a good thing.  Just as nature abhors a vacuum, work expands to fill the time available.  (Another reason to love deadlines!)  And spending three hours on something doesn’t necessarily make it better than it would have been had you spent one very focused hour on it.

So if faffing and fiddling are what you really need to do today, go for it.  Think of it as giving your brain a rest – even a form of meditation.  One that comes with the satisfaction of ticking off some very small irritating jobs from the To Do List!


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