If you follow me around for a week, it might look like I'm not doing much for large stretches of time. Idleness is a necessary part of research; you can't be occupied at every moment with purposeful activities. Receptivity requires a certain freedom from other activities. Think of Baudelaire and the figure of the flâneur.
Driving long distances is good for the mind, since you can't be working, but yet must maintain a certain amount of alertness. I use the shuffle technique on my ipod, playing random pieces of music and poetry through the speakers in my car as I drive to cultivate a kind of openness or receptivity.
Idleness is not laziness. The idle mind is working very hard; it is just not producing anything immediately tangible or quantifiable. My idle mind, for example, produced the idea for this post as I was driving the other day.