Saturday, June 02, 2007

Just in Time

Is wasting time actually time well spent? An article in the New York Times the other day really struck a chord with me. I remember when I was a producer/writer at Turner Broadcasting, co-workers would often find me lying on the floor tossing a rubber ball or bean bag up and down, staring into space. What a work-shirker! But that apparent time-wasting was a necessary part of the creative process for me. Goofing around on the floor or mindlessly searching the internet or working a crossword puzzle is how I prime the creative pump. Ideas click in somehow, someway during time-wasting. And as the NYT article points out, the more hours we work, the more hours we need to "waste." Think I'll print this article and post it on my office door.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know it was 40 years ago (yesterday) that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. Forty years! Yikes! Really? Forty? Fair enough. Sometimes it feels like 10 and sometimes 100. Time is such a weird thing. (And "When I'm 64" ain't that far away anymore. Another "wow.") Well, I don't care how old it is, the music still makes me smile.

Do you still wear a watch? I notice more and more people don't, mainly because they're so cool that they just pull out their Blackberries or cell phones to check the time. I can't imagine not having a watch on my wrist and feel bereft if for some reason I'm not wearing one. And watches are just lovely bits of jewelry-mechanisms. Do I wear a fancy one? Nah. Just a Timex Indiglo (I like to see it light up when I'm in a movie theatre). Guess I'm not very cool. OK, well, I am, but just not on the time-thing.


Em said...

I do wear a watch. That's the only way I can guarantee that I've played Mindsweeper long enough at my desk. :)

petercmoore said...

Nope. I've never really worn a watch. I was often given one as a Christmas or birthday present when younger, but I never really kept it on long.

There's always SOMEONE around who can tell you the time.

Anonymous said...

I wear a watch - an old thing I have had for 13 years. I love how you say it could be 10 years or 100 about how you feel in relation to the fortieth anniversary of the Sarg. That's exactly how I feel ... confused ... about time ... age ... life ... ain't it grand?

Elsie said...

Wasting time? My dad told me a story once about a business having hired a consultant to identify areas of improvement within the company. When he was making his recommendations he indicated that everyone seemed to be working to their ability, except for the one guy in the office at the end of the hall. Every time the consultant went by the guy's office, guy was sitting with his feet up on the desk and eyes closed. Consultant recommended firing the man. Man's boss says, "the last time he spent weeks with his feet up on the desk and his eyes closed, he came up with an idea that made the company millions." Guess who got fired. Moral of the story...keep goofing around on the floor, Mary!

Sgt. Pepper -- yes, they're celebrating 40, but I think that since I was too young then and didn't appreciate it for another ten years that we all get to take ten years off our ages!

No watch. The day I stopped working, I stopped wearing. I still have 10 or more stored in the jewelry box, just in case. And the Timex Indiglo is perfectly cool.

MaryB said...

Well, I see the "watch" issue breaks down along generational lines. Oh, you young 'uns! :-)

And don't worry, Elsie, even if I'm not physically on the floor goofing around, I am there in spirit for much of the day! (Good story from your dad, by the way - ). Of course, I guess sometimes goofin' around is just goofin' around. If there's never some kind of product at the end of the day, then that's what separates the slackers from the dreamers, hm?

Liz Hinds said...

So time wasting is good? That is excellent news. I must find that article and print it out for my boss who thinks jigsaws (and stuff that like) are a waste of time.

I stopped wearing my watch when it broke - again - and was irreparable. I check the time on the computer when I'm at work; out and about I study the skyline for a building with a clock. And there are fewer of those than you might think!

I heard that about Sgt Pepper on the radio this week and I was convinced they'd got it wrong! I'm sure I was more than four - okay 14 - when it was released.

Anonymous said...

That NYT article is definitely being passed around work tomorrow.

I don't wear a watch - as my wrists are too skinny to pull that watch wearing off. I'm one of the people that pull out my phone to tell the time, which last week seemed a bit of a downfall. I was on the bus home when the guy sat next to me asked if I had the time; I pulled out my phone and showed him it '7:45' I said (yes, wasting time at work means I work later than I should) - he then asked if he could borrow my phone to text someone.

I let him, as that's the kind of person I am, but didn't really buy into the whole 'my phone has run out of battery' story he gave me, especially as he pulled a post-it our of his pocket with his friend's phone number on it. If my phone ran our of battery I sure as heck wouldn't coincidentally have my friends phone number on post-it note in my pocket.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I have a Masters Degree in Time Wastage. As to watches, I wore one all my life until I started packing a cell phone on my belt that told me the time. I avoid things that bind, like rings, watches, ankle bracelets.

Deep down, I'm like the old "Chicago" tune, "Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?"

Anonymous said...

I haven't worn a watch in years...not sure why...I have several from years ago.

I seem to be the Queen of wasting time since I haven't been working...two years ago. I didn't know there were so many ways to waste time...and still somehow function.

chux said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chux said...

Harold Lloyd now thats a classic photo. Love watching his stuff a fantastic stuntman and entertainer!

You do need to give yourself time to think I agree. I like that image you painted of yourself on the floor throwing the ball Steve McQueen style in a POW camp. You cant hurry creativity it needs gentle nurturing. It always amazes me how things come together in your head when you have had a snooze or you are half asleep. I use to keep a dictaphone with me so when Eureka hit i could get it on record before i forgot it or lost any details.

watches, well i have 3 that the batteries have run out of. I intend to get at least one workingw ith a new battery sometime but i have said that for 3 months to myself now. I'll probably just end up getting another one instead!