A toast to the unproductive

Janina Stajic

Sounder Columnist

Monday, August 26 2013

I had to smile at this marvelous statistic that was in the Globe and Mail recently: “It’s estimated that hangovers cost the US economy $160-billion a year in ruined workplace productivity.” It immediately brought to mind the image of millions of people staring bleary eyed at their computer screens, pretending to work while instead streaming slightly inappropriate YouTube videos or posting banal updates to Facebook because that’s all their pickled brains can handle. [Side note: this also raises the question as to why people in North America are only given two weeks holiday even though studies have shown that more holiday time leads to MORE productivity – probably because employees don’t have to come to work hungover as they can use their holiday time to drink and be merry].

Then I realized there’s a dark side to this statistic - it implies being unproductive is a bad thing because of course it doesn’t make any money (gasp) and if we aren’t making money than what is the point of us being here at all?

This attitude is so ingrained in our society that people feel guilty when they actually indulge in being unproductive by, say, spending all day Saturday stuffing their faces with chips while watching three seasons of Republic of Doyle in a row.

Well, I think we need to start celebrating that so-called unproductive time. After all, as recent reports have confirmed, even Justin Trudeau is not adverse to a little unproductive time, chillin’ at a dinner party – and he seems like a pretty productive guy. So phone a few friends, grab a bottle of wine or just curl up with a good book and indulge in some guilt-free unproductive time. My guess is you’ll be all the happier for it (and may even feel better at work).