Don’t waste your time or time will waste you: the Ultimate Guide to Time Wasting

Hello friend,

Do you just LOVE to waste time? Do you enjoy getting to the end of the day and finding that you haven’t done any of the the things on your list but you have done three sudokus, read all of the copy of Glamour from 2013 that you still had under your bed and know exactly what route next door’s cat takes across the neighbours gardens.

Well I’m somewhat of an expert in getting nothing done and so I’ve put together the ultimate guide to time wasting so you, too, can while away your days in blissful fruitlessness.

First things first, make sure that you have your phone and tablet charged because you’re going to need them. So let’s get started:

Time Waster Number 1

When you get up in the morning, you should always look at your phone first. In fact, use your phone as your alarm and then you have to look at it. Undoubtedly, on the way to the bathroom you will be distracted by the notifications from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, you name it. There are lots of options.

Estimated time wasting: 15 minutes

Time Waster Number 2

You need to refer to an email that was sent to you so you could apply for a job / mortgage / pay a bill. Whilst looking for the email, check out the other emails. There is sure to be some mailshot from your favourite shop, so you can click through the link and spend some time browsing for that dress, makeup or ornament that you don’t need. Don’t forget to check the junk email (just give the link clicking a miss on this one).

Estimated time wasting: 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on how much you like to shop)

Time Waster Number 3

Playing games. Nothing better than playing games when you should be doing something else. Make sure you have them saved on as many devices as possible so that you have lots of opportunities to be distracted by them when you should be working on that important project.

Estimated time wasting: 20 minutes three times a day

Time Waster Number 4

The internet is the perfect place to find time wasting opportunities. Picked up your phone to find bus times? As soon as you open the browser you’ll see what you were last looking at so you can get straight to wasting time by picking up where you left off.

Estimated time wasting: 5 minutes (because someone is usually waiting for an answer) but you get to do this several times a day

Time Waster Number 5

When you are tidying up the living room and spot a magazine, be sure to check that you have read it by flicking through and scanning each page. If you spot an article you haven’t read, take the opportunity to sit down, put your feet up and read it. Then you can throw it out and you’ve made progress on the tidying, right?

Estimated time wasting: 20 minutes

Time Waster Number 6

Be sure to stand and look out of the window at the non-goings on down your street before cleaning the window because…

…..ok, STOP!

Let’s be realistic, no-one likes wasting their time but how many of these time wasters did you mentally check off?

Usually I find myself wasting time when I really need to be doing something else. At college and University, it was when I had some coursework to hand in. Later on, it has been when I feel overwhelmed and don’t know how to tackle a project. So I take comfort in browsing Facebook, playing a game, reading a book – even tidying, dusting and other tasks that might need doing, might be on the to do list, but don’t need doing right at that minute.

There’s nothing wrong in these time wasters in themselves – they just have a time and a place. Just like an appointment with the dentist, they need scheduling in.

These time wasters can easily be overcome with a bit of willpower. You might even try the Mel Robbins 5 second rule. If you notice yourself time wasting because you don’t want to do something, count down 5-4-3-2-1 and just do it. However, there are bigger things in life that waste our time that you can’t really use this rule for:

  • Relationships that aren’t working and won’t
  • A job that you hate but are afraid to leave
  • Shopping for things you don’t need and have no room for
  • Feeling angry about things that you have no control over
  • Having regrets about a decision not taken

We can’t escape that we only have one life and we should try to enjoy it, however clichéd that may sound. We really don’t want to be wasting our time on things that just don’t make us happy.

I’m not foolish. Sometimes, there are going to be things that don’t make us happy and we can’t control everything. But we should seek to eliminate those things we can control that don’t add joy to our lives – a kind of emotional decluttering on our journey to minimalism.

How can we do that? Confront our feelings, talk it out, make a plan. Seek expert advice.

Wow. Did that get a bit serious?

Whilst I’m lucky that I have a great husband, family and friends, there are other things in my life that I’m wasting time on. Sometimes I feel angry for no reason, sometimes I recall mistakes from my past that bring a knot to my stomach, and other times I find myself trawling through the internet for nothing in particular instead of committing to the things I said I wanted to achieve.

So I’m resolving to eliminate these time wasters from my day.

What about you? Do you have time wasting habits that you want to eliminate? How are you going to escape?

Until next time, may it be well with you.

Earworm: Knights of Cydonia, Muse


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