Live to Work, or Work to Live?

I just read this article about the difference between work, leisure, and creative, leisurely work. Seems that we’re doing it wrong.

I think he’s onto something. I’ll add a few more variants. Some make their living from their hobbies, such as fishing guides and ski instructors. Some earn a living playing chess or golf. There are even professional video gamers. The semi-lost art of cottage industry provides a family environment in which children and parents work, play, and learn together. Many of our greatest inventions began in a home workshop, invented by people who had the leisure time to work on projects of their choice and interest.

Our leisure time is an endangered species. Enemies of constructive leisure time can include long commutes, being constantly connected to our work through cell phones and computers, and all forms of passive entertainment. (I’m looking at you, Reddit.)

Google’s policy of encouraging workers to use a portion of their work time to work on anything they choose is a good example, giving birth to many new products, including Gmail and Google News. Here’s an article by a Google engineer¬†on the topic.

Regarding idleness: Most people can’t bear to do nothing for long. If you feel lazy or in need of idleness, it’s likely you’re in need of some R&R; you’re probably tired or burnt out. Few people are intrinsically lazy when it comes to doing something they are passionate about.

It seems self evident: work that we *get* to do will generally be more pleasant and productive than work we *have* to do.


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