I decided to slack off a bit. I need some slack time to recharge my batteries. I noticed that I am not nearly as creative as I could be if I’m not rested, or if I don’t have time to think and absorb the big picture. You say you don’t have time to slack off? You are too busy? You have too many things to do? Think again.One of my favorite gurus decided to not slack off entirely, and he wrote a pretty good book on the subject. Read it the first chance you get: Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency, by Tom DeMarco. Fast Company magazine asked Tom in an interview to talk about the reasons for “slacking off.”
As some of you already know, I share Tom’s point of view on many of the issues he raises. Telling people to only plan for 15 to 20 effective on-task hours per week comes as a shock at first, but then they start getting some data, and they realize that 15 might be at times too ambitious.
One idea that I have followed through the years was that I try to turn everything that I need to do into some sort of process. This allows me to free up my thinking. Once I have a process for a problem I don’t have to think about that problem again quite as much. It is not that I don’t think about it all—not unless I manage to automate it—but rather, I can concentrate on other problems, for which I don’t have a solution yet.
So, do you have a solution for slacking? If not, I urge you to figure it out how to work slacking into your regular schedule.