The Importance of Doing Nothing

Sometimes, you wind up doing nothing all day. And some days, that's just fantastic.

The Importance of Doing Nothing

Sometimes, you wind up doing nothing all day. And some days, that’s just fantastic.

Of course, what we classify as ‘nothing’ is often stuff like bingeing a series on Netflix, reading books in bed, or playing a game with a loved one all freaking day. It’s not nothing, exactly. It’s something, but it’s not a productive something.

The 2000’s seem to be the Rush Era. People are rushing to get stuff done, they’re racing to get ahead of the other guy, they’re always in a hurry. Baby Boomers, especially, want their time to mean something.

I’m a Baby Boomer, technically speaking. I’m one of the last members of a generation where everyone catered to them. I’m also a Generation X-er, which means that I missed out on the Boomer’s golden era and wound up being way more cynical than I probably should be. I’m also a hippie and a nerd and a little bit millennial, but that’s another story for another time.

Statistically speaking, Boomers are more affluent, had an easier time with tertiary education, work, and achieving goals set for humanity as far back as the 1950’s. House in suburbia, 2.5 kids, car for each adult in the house… that kind of deal. Gen-X-ers, however, have it a little more rough. Their tuition fees were steeper, they had to deal with the housing bubble accelerating home prices almost beyond their reach. It took longer for Gen-X-ers to get a house, start a family, and all that noise.

Which has sort of lead to the struggle today. Everyone you know has three or four projects they’re working on. Some people are way too busy to write that book they want to do “one day” (there’s another rant for another time). We’re told that we should be spending all our waking moments on things to earn money so we can keep our heads above water in this rushing world.

Millennials are wise to this. They take their time, when they have it to spare, on arts and crafts or Netflix and chill. They’re the patient generation, and often have three or four skills they can trade with if necessary. Millennials know darn well that their fellow Millennials have no money to spare, so they’re engaging in barter and trade chains with their friends.

(It’s also why a majority of Millennials are begging for spare change on the internet, but that’s not my point today.)

Which is why we all need to get back to doing nothing.

It isn’t as valueless as you might think.

Doing nothing is just as important as doing everything. Humans were not made to work their every waking second. We aren’t all cogs in the business machine to grind at paperwork until we have to be replaced. Humans need social time, relaxation time, and time to just… faff around.

Any writer will tell you that faffing about is part of the creative process. It’s idle time. It lets our emotions recharge, or build up power. It lets the mind wander into wherever it likes. It’s a little holiday that, in a roundabout way, leads to creativity.

There are lots of studies that show how art can improve scholastic performance. Art, literally faffing about with a vague goal of creating something cool, helps improve kids’ performance at school. It helps growing young minds. So why is it squashed, cut, limited and derided so very often?

Because it can’t be quantified. It can’t be evaluated on a 1-10 scale and filed in a pigeon hole. The Industry doesn’t like that.

IMHO, the industry can go suck it.

We need art. We need time to faff about. We need time to just noodle around with stuff because that’s how the human race improves on things. Forcing yourself to make a thing all the time is more likely to create a roadblock than it is to create a new innovation.

Think about it. How often have you hit a problem with something – a game, a puzzle, a project, whatever. How often have you ragequit that noise only to nail that sucker after you’ve slept on it? I bet you haven’t even counted.

Rest and play are important. Just as important as getting the results that the world demands.

Just… keep it within reason and moderation. Over-doing anything is just bad for you.