Just Wasting Time

clock tower chelsea michiganHave you ever wondered how we got to using that phrase? I am sure that cavemen (and women!) did not sit around worrying about time lost. 

Or that folks in the Middle Ages were too concerned about being totally b-o-r-e-d. No, it seems to be to be an illness born of the 20th century, now rapidly becoming the 21st.

Assuming that you do fit into the time-waster category, at least occasionally, let’s take a look at where our beliefs come from and how to minimize the “time wasted.” 

What do I consider wasted time? I thought at first it might be time not spent on task. But when I sit on the back porch in the morning watching the hummingbirds doing their aerial battling, I don’t consider that a waste of time. When I sit in front of the computer writing, I feel good. When I am with friends, fully engaged, I feel fulfilled.

I don’t like commuting. That’s a waste.

I don’t like commercials. That’s a waste.

So maybe time wasted is time spent on stuff that is repetitious with no real juicy parts, nothing new, nothing real?

Sometimes I don’t know it’s a waste until I get done. I can read through a whole issue of USA Today and get to the last page and say, “Well, that was a waste.” Or go to a movie and know 10 minutes in that it’s a real bomb and sit there anyway for 2 hours and then leave and think, “I just wasted 2 hours of my life on that? Makes me feel pretty bad!

I wonder if the complexity and fast-paced speed of life today gives us the chance to measure wasted time in minutes and seconds, rather than days and weeks? For example, in Jane Austin’s day you had to plan ahead and take your trunks with you in the horse drawn carriage.

To visit a friend in a neighboring village would take a day’s travel even to get there. Then to look back and count a trip as a waste you’d have to account for several days, if not weeks

By contrast, I had a friend who worked in one of the banks on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. He calculated the minutes he wasted waiting for the high speed elevator to his office on the (executive) top floor each morning!

And who is that persona inside that makes this judgment of waste? Usually our ‘judging’ side is a compilation of parent figures in our lives. Who is the judge of your time wasted? Mom? Dad? 

Or is it society as a whole? Do we get our values of what is good time and what is wasted time from—horrors!—the Media? Now that would be a nightmare indeed!

Just for the fun of it, take a day and keep track. What do you consider a waste of time? At what point did you make the judgment call that it was? Why did you consider it a waste of your time? 

Let me know. It won’t be a waste of time!

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About Intrepid Explorer

By writing we discover the world
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