Your time on earth is finite and once you use it up, it’s gone forever. Thus on the AoM podcast, we talk a lot about how to maximize your time — how to use it more effectively to be more productive. But is it possible to be too concerned about managing your time? Should you also make space for chucking out all the to-do lists and schedules and just being kind of idle?

My guest would say yes. His name is Alan Lightman, he’s a physicist and writer, and the author of the book In Praise of Wasting Time. Today on the show Alan forwards the sort of countercultural argument that intentionally wasting time isn’t a vice but a virtue. We begin our conversation by discussing what Alan means by wasting time, and then get into how wasting time benefits our psyches, creativity, sense of mental self-reliance, and even, ironically enough, our productivity. We end our conversation discussing the difference between chronos time and kairos time, and how wasting time allows us to spend more time in the latter state.

Show Highlights

  • Why Alan started seeing value in wasting time
  • What Alan means by “wasting time” 
  • How our perception of time has changed through the course of history 
  • Why increased communication speeds cause anxiety 
  • Why people are less creative in our modern times 
  • How Alan has effectively used “wasted” time in his own creative endeavors 
  • Why everyone needs unstructured, unplugged time to just think
  • Letting your brain truly wander versus directing its attention
  • The value of play 
  • Why goals, especially in your leisure time activities, can hold you back
  • What about “wasting time” in your professional life? How do you make this case to your boss?
  • Chronos time vs kairos time 

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The post Podcast #458: In Praise of Wasting Time appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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