15 time wasters

by Stacey Mason ([email protected]) 747 views 

We do lots of things with time. We keep time, spend time, use time and lose time. We sacrifice time, track time, make time and even buy time. And sometimes, with indifference to our limited time, we do the unthinkable: we waste time.

Humans have been keeping time since the beginning of … well, time. It’s literally everywhere, and maybe this ubiquity has us treating it with a lack of reverence. I understand that none of us live forever, and our time here on earth is limited. And if that’s the case, wasting time makes little sense.

As we celebrate this year’s Fast 15, I thought I would share 15 things that are a complete waste of time.

  1. Hitting the snooze button. Set the alarm for the time you need to get up and then get up at that time. The extra 9 minutes of snooze is not restorative sleep. Moreover, your mood takes a hit. Being groggy and in a bad mood is a horrible way to start any day.
  2. Complaining. Complaining is verbal procrastination, with the average adult wasting 8 minutes and 45 seconds daily. This complaining also has dysfunctional side effects beyond the time drain: it hampers mood, quells creativity, impacts trust, and riles up others.
  3. Negativity. Criticism and pessimism. Downbeat and disagreeable. That sounds like a great way to spend your precious time. Probably not.
  4. Lying. Lying takes more time and energy. And who has more time and energy to spend on another negative emotion?
  5. Wishing for others to change. People tend to change when they’ve learned enough or been hurt enough. And even then, there’s no guarantee their change will be to your liking. They are on their own journey.
  6. Standing in (the wrong) line. In the average adult’s lifetime, 6,554 hours are spent queuing. Standing in line is referred to as a “timeless form of torture.” We have to stand in line, but we don’t have to stand in the wrong line. Know the difference.
  7. Speculation and gossip. We don’t know until we know. And no amount of hearsay and conjecture will create that knowing.
    Stacey Mason
  8. Being petty. Take the high road when it comes to people. Grace costs nothing, least of all your time.
  9. Lack of direction. Author Lewis Carroll wrote, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” It’s generally best to have a destination in mind before embarking on an adventure.
  10. Inefficiencies. Disorganization, inadequate tools, deficient skills, poor processes and procedures, rework. Any one of those is bad enough. If you stack a few together, that’s time wasted on steroids.
  11. Being late. Being late means you’ve wasted not only your time but the time of others. That’s a double whammy of waste.
  12. Avoiding the truth. Sooner or later, you have to face the truth. And the time spent on it sooner is much better than the time squandered on it later. And yes, the truth comes with anxieties, disappointments and responsibilities. It hurts. It also heals. Ultimately, it sets you free. And free time is a gift.
  13. Coveting. What is meant for another is merely meant for another. You are not lacking; you are on a different path. Stay the course and walk your own truth.
  14. Comparing yourself to others. It’s of no value to compare yourself to others — they’re on a different journey than you.
  15. Social media. Scrolling, coveting, comparing — waste, waste, waste. If social media makes you feel happy, go for it. If it makes you feel less than, it’s not worth your time.

William Penn is quoted as saying, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” The older I get, the more and more I think about my time here on earth. And I refuse to make the worst use of it.

Congratulations to the newest inductees into the Fast 15.

I wish you much continued success. Ancora Imparo … (Still, I am learning).

Stacey Mason is the founder of The Improv Lab, a professional development business in Bentonville. More information is available by calling 479-877-0131. The opinions expressed are those of the author.