THE BLOG
08/22/2014 03:13 pm ET Updated Oct 22, 2014

An Idle Mind Is the Devil's Playground

Blend Images - Mike Kemp via Getty Images

Here's a novel concept: Doing nothing is as productive -- maybe even more productive -- as doing something. This is according to a couple of university professors. As Daniel J. Levitin wrote in the New York Times, "Several studies have shown that a walk in nature or listening to music can trigger the mind-wandering mode. This acts as a neural reset button, and provides much needed perspective on what you're doing. Daydreaming leads to creativity."

That's good to hear, since I spend most of my life doing nothing.

That's not true. Most of the time I'm doing something. It's just that when I'm doing nothing I think I should be doing something. It's the puritan ethic, or the protestant ethic -- or some such ethic pounded into me at an early age. You're supposed to feel guilty about doing nothing. "An idle mind is the devil's playground." Something like that. I never got it quite straight.

Actually, these university professors think the problem isn't doing something or nothing -- it's that we're doing too much of something (nothing) and should be doing more of nothing (something): "The constant flow of information from Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram, text messages and the like engages that system, and we find ourselves not sustaining attention on any one thing for very long -- the curse of the information age."

So we're doing too much of the wrong somethings and it cuts into the time when we should be doing nothing.

They also say doing nothing leads to epiphanies. I'll agree with that -- although I'm not sure my epiphanies are epiphanous enough to be epiphanies. Maybe.

I'll have to do nothing and not think about that for awhile.