Doing nothing instead of everything

Doing nothing when one ought to be doing everything. It must not be confused with simply doing nothing at any time, which is mere sloth. In order to know this particular delight, you have to be a busy chap, preferably concerned in a number of different enterprises. If they are important and apt to develop dramatically, so much the better. A few worrying colleagues, with a passion for long-distance telephoning, cables and telegrams [e-mails!], will add spice to the dish. Now let these various enterprises be brought nearly to the boil. You have spent at least several days rushing from one to the other, explaining everywhere how desperately busy you are, with one eighteen-hour day after another [Kevin 24/7!], secretaries fainting, wife telephoning to the doctor about you; no time to eat properly, just living on brandy and mysterious blue capsules. Then, slap in the middle of all this hullabaloo, pack it up for a day or two, allowing each gang to conclude you are toiling for one of the other gangs, and do nothing, absolutely nothing. Eat and drink and smoke, of course; yawn and stretch and scratch; glance at newspapers, dip into light literature, and gossip; but no more. No gardening, sharp walks, correspondence, nor even jobs about the house. Get as close to doing nothing as it is possible for a Western Aryan [not a good name post WWII!] or whoever we are. Give an occasional thought, for spice and devilment, to the worrying colleagues. Refuse to answer the telephone-too busy. It is a dirty trick-but delicious.

—J.B. Priestley. Delights, London: Heinemann, 1951, ch. 57, pp. 125-126.