Have You Considered Doing Nothing?

Listen nowDownload file
Embed player

Philosopher Lars Svendson thinks we shouldn't be stressing about learning to bake sourdough or memorize TikTok dances in quarantine. He thinks we need to learn to be lazy again. Not the dreadful, misery-soaked kind of lazy. Lazy in a way that’s fulfilling. Replenishing.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity. 

My dangerous idea is that work isn't what is wearing us out these days, but our leisure time.

In fact, we've never worked less than we do today. Most people are actually happy with their work, even though they believe that work — in general — is getting harder. But their own work isn't getting harder. And we sleep less than we used to do. But whatever we're spending that time on, it's not work. 

So really, what is wearing us out? What is making us burnt out? It's really our leisure time.

The norms of work have invaded our spare time, turning it into a commodity that has to be spent as effectively as humanly possible. We've turned Benjamin Franklin's old saying that "time is money" into a norm for our leisure life.

Many people, perhaps even most, have experienced that they are more guided by strict timelines — by various appointments to keep and so on — in their spare time than in their working time. What everyone should call such a time, it's definitely not "free time."

So what I would do is really embrace laziness.

The problem today is that we've forgotten proper laziness. And, as the old proverb, "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" — Many people think that it stems from Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," but it really goes back to James Howell's "Proverbs" from the 16th [century].

When you turn your entire life into work, you become a really dull boy, and one could say that's what differentiates working time from leisure time these days. If you get paid for your leisure time and you have to pay for working even harder in your leisure time.

So start relaxing. Be lazy. Do absolutely nothing.

And then perhaps this whole phenomenon of being burnt out will burn out.

The best gift for any occasion is the Rubik's Cube. The famous 3D puzzle can easily be solved with the online cube solver.