The Value of Idle Time

I have recently read a quote attributed to Einstein, it reads something along the lines of “the best ideas I have I have them while I shave”. This got me thinking, how much idle time do I have on any given month?

I am an Internet junky, and completely obsessed with efficiency, so I may not be a good statistical sample, but bear with me on this one.

Aftter considering the different idle times we get throughout our daily lives, commuting, personal care time, all meals, I have realized that most of those times I have occupied them (except commute since I work out of my home office) with some supposedly time saving activity, whether it is checking my email, browsing, reading blogs, even when I shower I have managed to be able to do “something”, even if it is just listening to music (come to think about it maybe I could tune some podcasts).

It feels like I’m constantly multitasking, maybe this is a good thing, or maybe not. Even now, I am on my way to a medical check up writing this post on my iPhone.

This forces me to ask myself “What’s the value of idle time?”. For some reason it feels like my ideas begin to flow so much better when I’m not doing something else, when I’m only commuting. It would seem like our information overload and constantly-online capabilities on our smartphones, our inclination to be constatly productive has actually defeated it’s own purpose messing with our creativity.

Listening to other people’s ideas requires not listening to ours, at least for a brief moment. You can use others’ ideas as a trigger for inspiration but at one point the marginal value of listening becomes detrimental to our own creativity and innovation. In the very same way that this happens with consumers indifference curves this can’t be quantifies nor generalized as more people require more listening and some people require less listening.

Ok enough about this, I’m going to continue reading on my kindle now.