Do waste time sometimes

Waste time.

“The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.”

Amos Tversky

Many do not have the luxury to even consider this, but in lockdown, many also have more time, whether that be because they are not commuting, or simply that we cannot go anywhere, do anything outside our homes.

Around work, some are able to get to the “important but not urgent” work on future strategy and other research that the busy activity of normal work never allows to come to the top of the list.

In a personal space though, many do have no spare time, and those that do may feel a level of underlying anxiety such that they rail against anyone suggesting they learn a new skill, take up a new hobby etc (I get that!).

However, as we consider gradually emerging, the rapidly shifting environment will (quite suddenly I feel) soon remove any sense of more time, as we will need to think through what to do next and then act on it.

For now, then, and particularly for those in the UK where Friday is a public holiday and there is a three day weekend, look to find at least some time where you have nothing planned.

My suggestion is, as Amos Tversky put it, to allow yourself to “waste” hours. It matters not what you do with that time, simply have the awareness that you have it and are taking it for yourself.

PS Amos Tversky is one of the most important people ever in the field of behaviour. Perhaps even take time to read a great and entertaining read by Michael Lewis about Tversky and his friend Dani Kahnemann, “The Undoing Project“.


Also published on Medium.