Sunday, February 21, 2010


Frittering, daydreaming, pottering, procrastination are considered by most to be unproductive pastimes, they're frowned upon and called a waste of time. But this is wrong.

These are highly productive activities, because we think while we procrastinate. 
Profound ideas are taking shape in our brain while we're apparently doing nothing. IBM used to (perhaps still does) pay employees to stare into space. 
According to this Wall Street Journal articleeven Descartes and Archimedes may have been staring into space when they made their great discoveries. "In fact, our brain may be most actively engaged when our mind is wandering"a new brain-scanning study suggests.  

The fact that frittering is extremely soothing seems to make the brain more receptive to new ideas. And observations made while frittering will find their way into your writing, even your life sooner or later. So, fritter away and good ideas will bloom. Gaze at an intricate painting, watch water swirling around the sink, pore over wood grain, stare into space and see things that go with other things, make connections, associations and patterns. It will all be useful sooner or later. This NY Times article also supports frittering.  

Fiddling, twiddling, Tweeting, tinkering, doodling, pottering and puttering are all good, but keep a notebook handy, fritter-thinking can be fleeting and quickly forgotten.



lksienkiewicz said...

I shall refer to your post when I'm staring out the window and my husband asks "what are you doing?" and I tell him "writing."

Nora Lumiere said...

Absolutely. I defy anyone not to think while they fritter so, since writing is 99% thinking, of course you're writing.

Marisa Birns said...

I can sit down for a moment and look out the window. A few "minutes" later, I can get up to get something to drink and see that A hour or so has gone by!

So I am frittering, then? Excellent.

Nora Lumiere said...

Frittering is an unjustly reviled pass time. If anyone appraoches you while you're frittering, just put your hand on your chin and mutter Hmmm.