Would ya take today off already? Yeesh…

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

From The ‘Busy’ Trap by Tim Kreider (New York Times), the best essay I’ve read in a long time about the value of slack, down-time, etc. (Our own Steve Bockman has designed exercises to teach software teams and software managers that utilization–ie, “busy-ness”–does not equal productivity).

Why, just yesterday Chris and I spent part of our 4th holiday on a fool’s errand, running to Daly City to look at an unlocked cell phone he found on Craigslist. It was a beautiful day, and we rode surface streets, with the top down on the convertible. Along the way we started looking at crazy stuff on Craigslist, and having silly conversations. We almost bought a private island, and a sailboat, but in the process we stumbled on office space that may just become the new Agile Learning Labs world headquarters. All because we took the time to run a fool’s errand, slowly, on a gorgeous day. Today is another gorgeous day… so try it!

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One Comment

  1. Posted July 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m constantly running into managers who still think that their job is to keep people working hard, when the evidence from psychology and systems theory clearly shows that “down time” is vital if an organization is to deliver the maximum value possible.

    If you are interested in learning more about this, here are a few books you may want to read: The Goal, Slack, Scaling Lean and Agile Development, and The Principles of Product Development Flow.

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