Recently read this wonderful piece by Morgan Housel, the author of ‘Psychology of Money’ on building slack and free time in your life.
“So many people strive for efficient lives, where no hour is wasted. But an overlooked skill that doesn’t get enough attention is the idea that Wasting time can be a great thing.
Psychologist Amos Tversky once said “the secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.”
A successful person purposely leaving gaps of free time on their schedule to do nothing, in particular, can feel inefficient. And it is, so not many people do it. But Tversky’s point is that if your job is to be creative and think through a tough problem, then time spent wandering around a park or aimlessly lounging on a couch might be your most valuable hours. A little inefficiency is wonderful.
The New York Times once wrote of former Secretary of State George Shultz:
‘His hour of solitude was the only way he could find time to think about the strategic aspects of his job. Otherwise, he would be constantly pulled into moment-to-moment tactical issues, never able to focus on larger questions of the national interest.’
Albert Einstein put it this way: ‘ I take time to go for long walks on the beach so that I can listen to what is going on inside my head. If my work isn’t going well, I lie down in the middle of a workday and gaze at the ceiling while I listen and visualize what goes on in my imagination.’
Mozart felt the same way:
‘When I am traveling in a carriage or walking after a good meal or during the night when I cannot sleep–it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.’
Someone once asked Charlie Munger what Warren Buffett’s secret was. “I would say half of all the time he spends is sitting on his ass and reading. He has a lot of time to think.”
This is the opposite of “hustle porn,” where people want to look busy at all times because they think it’s noble.
Nassim Taleb says, “My only measure of success is how much time you have to kill.” More than a measure of success, I think it’s a key ingredient. The most efficient calendar in the world – one where every minute is packed with productivity – comes at the expense of curious wandering and uninterrupted thinking, which eventually become the biggest contributors of success.”
This Sunday, build slack, enjoy your free time and stay blessed forever.