Select Writeups

Sharing a bit about myself by publishing what I write. This is where you can find opinionated writeups discussing various topics of interest including:

A waste of time


You’re wasting your time. It’s well-intentioned advice raining down from blogs, parents, friends, and everyone purporting to be better than you. Don’t go on social media, stop watching the news, don’t masturbate, quit reading emails, stop praying to God, don’t do crunches with your neck, run instead of walking. Our acceptance that our time is finite has sustained industries ready to tell us how to use it most efficiently. But is there any meaning behind all of this wasted time? How should you feel as it piles up and festers into a ball of regret?

Perhaps we should just accept the abusive relationship we have with time. The alternative is fairly painful and frowned upon by society. But as anxious as time makes us, it's hard to be anything but grateful that we can coexist with it. And by keeping a couple of things in mind, we can take that relationship to whole new levels… even with the knowledge that enough time will kill us.

The time-wasting barometer

What could be said to convince you that you’re wasting time? Would you need a chart or comparisons to historical figures of the past? Would someone need to stand watch over you, shaking their heads with a stop-watch in one hand, and an hour-glass in the other?

The truth is, our collective perception of time pales in comparison to our circumstances. If you were wealthy beyond comprehension, would you still be subject to the same type of finger-wagging? If you were happy, would you care? Time is more than money because it doesn’t care what you have during its relentless march forward. We live and do the things we need to do. Then, if we’re lucky, we find the chance to do the things we want to do. Then we run out of time. Time is constant, and constants aren’t meant to be the center of attention in math equations. There are better things to fret over, like your income, or your optimism, or your relationships, or your goals because worrying too much about time can put a damper over your present ability to care about the things that really matter.

So what truly is a waste of time? Does it lie at everything or nothing? Is it determined by every morsel of value you can extract from it? Time is relative whether it’s wasted or not, and we will get lost in it. But maybe there are things we can cut back on doing to make the best use of it. If you’re willing to spend the time, perhaps the following suggestions can offer a bit of perspective.

Avoid telling people they are wasting their time…

People will inevitably “waste” their time. Get over it. They will all die and have time to reflect on their misdeeds soon enough. You can stew in the irony of this writing, but it's best to relinquish the mantle of savior of souls. After the regrets settle in, people will long for the time they wasted. Time will prove who’s right and who’s wrong, so stop caring about what you needed to prove. Advice on how to spend time is best reserved for those who seek you out for it, those who are dependent on you, or those whose time you purchased already. People who are caught up in the moment have little reason to care about your rantings about how the end is near. And people who know the end is near have little reason to spend it letting everyone else know that.

Avoid worrying about whether you are wasting your time or not

Worrying about your time is an affirmation that you are not spending it wisely. Don’t worry, because what’s lost is lost. Plan rather than worry. Track your time, get a better sense of your failings and successes, then plan about how to use that time efficiently. There are moments when we want to selfishly feed our current interest and bathe in the pleasure of short-term satisfaction. It happens, but you will come to experience diminishing returns on that momentary bliss. Use the tools and technologies available to make you feel better about how you spend time. Monitor your energy levels, and see how it syncs up with time because energy is the biggest harbinger of productive use of one’s time.

Avoid repeating the failed experiments of the past

People will succeed and fail. We could chalk it up to the gods or to luck, but it will all be to our benefit when it’s recorded. Be honest about the goals ahead, be honest about what ends match up to the means of your time. Pull the bandage off quickly and see what you can learn after that time’s been spent. If the circumstances are not to your liking, then cast away the old comfort zones, processes, tools, and systems that were set up and try whatever feels new just to get the raw data about it. Embrace the malaise, for even if you learn that nothing could be learned, then you can still say you learned something. Your experience is always your own, and it's always new to you, but many have walked the path of broken glass before you. Some people are even willing to record the pain of it all for your benefit. Find something, or preferably, someone to hold your hand, and cast away your pride to grasp it with all your might. Across all industries and systems, humans have reluctantly gone from experiment to experiment trying to figure things out, all for the benefit of present and future generations. Don’t think you are too good for that.

When it's all said and done…

Accept it. You are a waste of time. Your impact on the world is likely to be minimal. You are likely not a Benjamin Franklin. You’re inventions and intentions are destined to be tossed on the trash heap of history, certain to be forgotten in 3-4 generations. If you’re lucky, others may build on your contributions and mistakes, continuing our journey of misguided advancement. It’s relieving nonetheless because it means that your time belongs to you, and few reserve the right to tell you what to do with it.

The world is truly a cold place, and time will always go on with little sympathy for how you spent it. The eternity that seemed promised to us when we developed our conciseness fades away with each passing year. But when you accept that, you will be prepared with a much warmer coat.