The way I see it, provided you have the freedom of imagination, no physical circumstance should be considered a time waste: perhaps not the ideal setup, but certainly not a waste, as I tend to often hear in exaggerated dialogue.
Really, if we consider that form of freedom, the most ‘wasteful’ activity that comes to mind this instance (excepting other less pervasive mechanical functions) is the driving of a car. When behind the wheel, you must focus on the road.
You don’t have the freedom to entertain but the quick and superficial. You can admire the sights and sounds, enjoy the soundtrack, chat with the passenger: but to meditate on anything deeper and more focused, and you place yourself and others at substantial physical risk.
Now urban bicycling, though also mind-inhibiting, at least facilitates severe exercise (and is eons more pleasant for my taste), hence I cannot help but relate to it far more sympathetically.
I don’t know about you, but I would sooner spend an hour and a half on public transport than drive for even half that duration. In that hour and a half you can, with at least 80% effectiveness, carry out many if not most creative tasks, or the reading that you might at home or office. Doesn’t sound wasteful at all.
When out on a walk, though inhibited from heavy mechanically involved labor, nothing prevents you from imagining, brainstorming and effectively creating. Sure, submerging within yourself while on a stroll may result in Three-Stooges worthy slapstick clumsiness, but unless you’re crossing intersections, the physical risk is minimal compared to driving. Not wasteful.
Even the corporate office confines cannot entirely inhibit your freedom of imagination. You’ve the flexibility to take opportune moments as frequently as you care, circumvent the immediate agenda and explore creative thought for focused enough periods.
Now how about the 6-8 hour (or longer) airport layovers, including overnight? I often find myself on one of these to severely economize on flights. Time wasteful? Uncomfortable? Boring?
Not with a proper frame of mind. Unless you’re physically handicapped, any discomfort and suffering, if you feel their presence, largely stems from within. Follow the stoics.
As for the time utilization and creativity, I see the airport as no more hampering as a busy café. You have all the freedom to read, write, exercise art forms, chat with strangers, walk, stretch, et cetera. I think it’s more the negative connotation to the being at an airport, to that patient endurance of a burden, than spoils the experience for many of us.
Speaking of layovers, I value them for one other reason. You have the option of abandoning the remaining leg(s) and seeking adventure in the locality: though not something a business traveler is likely to pursue.
In fact, the train of thought for not only the ‘layover optionality’ but this entire post stemmed from a recent flight itinerary I purchased with layovers exceptionally long, what one might term ‘painful’, yet geographically enticing from that nomadic standpoint.
To summarize, wherever you are, if your have the freedom of mind, time is not of waste unless you choose to squander it. Of the masses of activities you can productively occupy your mind (and body) with, I leave you with a handful:
- Read Elizabethan tragedies. Or Restoration comedies.
- Write articles (for your blog, your neighborhood newspaper, or for the founding of Confederate states).
- Draw, if you’re fortunate to have this medium at your avail.
- Memorize poetry. Then forever enjoy it anywhere, except behind the wheel.
- Rehearse physical routines (ie martial arts or dancing) in your mind: 50% effectiveness according to some sources.
- Listen to a challenging piece of music. Then write an amateur review or essay. Then toss it.
- Compose drafts of awkward and endlessly postponed emails.
- Engage strangers with philosophical keenness.
Questions, comments? Connect.