There are a few people out there that are super focused and busy producing 24/7, but most people have their downtime, their piddling time, their fiddling time, their dallying time, their tinkering time, their puttering time. Whatever people want to call their time, I don’t think it’s a waste of time.
Personally, I piddle. I can piddle hours away at the computer or looking through magazines or old papers or sketching rooms of furniture or daydreaming and outlining stories to write. I think piddling is important. All my piddling is a precursor to actually doing “something”, whatever that “thing” is. Sometimes, I need to stop working so I can piddle for awhile. I think my brain can only go full speed for so long, then I have to stop. I have to piddle. I have to let my brain relax so I can continue with the work at hand.
Now, I am not a fiddler and I am not a tinkerer. I view people who fiddle or tinker as having some work at hand to examine it, try to fix a broken piece. I think some of our great inventors — from Edison to Einstein to Fermi — were tinkerers. The tinkerers of the labs. Webster states both words, fiddle and tinker, denote passing time aimlessly. I disagree. I believe that there may not be an aim in the fiddling or tinkering, but I believe with time the aimless becomes an aim. I can see Cartier tinkering with the inners of a watch or a mechanic tinkering with the inners of the motor. I do not see a doctor tinkering with the inners of a human body (or at least I hope not).
I am not a putterer either, but I know a lot of putterers, especially during spring, summer and fall. There are Debbie and Kathy and Sue, Jim and Doug and Dave — they all putter in their gardens. They deweed and plan and buy and plant and paint and build and putter away their time. But, wow, go by their houses and you can view some beautiful gardens or landscaping. Their puttering has been put to good use. Beauty use. They do not dawdle their time away or fritter about their puttering, they just putter in their gardens.
Dawdle and dally mean basically the same, and I am not a dawdler or a dallier. I don’t know many of these people. These are your loiterers, the people who simply hang out and do nothing, the couch potatoes, the people who have their back against the building holding the building up, the loiterers. Now, within the piddling, the puttering, the fiddling, the tinkering, we may have moments to dawdle or dally, but those are moments, not the piddling, puttering, fiddling, tinkering time to sort through, fix, or tend to. I probably dawdle in the morning, trying to get myself awake to start the day, and I may dally at night when I become the couch potato piddling with the computer. But, basically, I am a piddler. A happy piddler. Right now, I need to piddle.
Have a great day, a piddling I will go….