I’m a sucker for filling up spare moments with reading, listening, messaging. I like being in touch with people, and I love learning, so empty moments can feel like moments wasted.
But – and it’s a big but – it’s often in empty moments that your thoughts settle and clear. You make a connection between two thoughts, or have a new idea, or remember what it is you were really supposed to be doing today, or who it is you should be in touch with. You see the things around you more clearly.
You empty moments add value to your full ones by helping you to clarify, simplify and focus. And even if they don’t, they’re worth it on their own terms:
In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.Virginia Woolf – Mrs Dalloway*
*Which I never thought I’d actually quote, and certainly not in an actual place.