It’s quite interesting to study and observe how we treat time in our lives. In our youth we often complain(ed) that we’re bored. Then, later in life we always feel stressed and never have enough time for anything. But this week I saw a quote that got me thinking again, triggering thoughts I had a lot before but never wrote down:
If we wasted money the way we waste time, we’d all be bankrupt.
—Seth Godin in “Wasting it”
At first, I wholeheartedly agreed with everything said here. It’s true: The biggest issue to productivity, in efficiency in work projects is indeed the mismanagement of time. It doesn’t matter if it’s useless meetings with too many people on board, if it’s waiting for a reply, if it’s figuring out details during work instead of having a solid concept before.
In the past seven years of doing project and delivery management, this is what I could observe in all projects. Some were quite successful nevertheless, some were not. For work, I really believe that we could save a lot of money, we could avoid a lot of stress if we’d invest a bit more time to plan our time better. It’s not a convenient job to organize time but it pays off.
There’s never enough [time]. We’re always behind. It goes by too fast. We can’t do important things because we don’t have enough time.
None of it is helpful. Most of it is bullshit.
—Leo Babauta in “Master Time”
But then we also have private lives. And this is where it’s a little bit different to me when we talk about wasting time. We first should define what’s a waste of time.
When you bought your first smartphone, did you know you would spend more than 1,000 hours a year looking at it?
Months later, can you remember how you spent those hours? —Seth Godin in “Wasting it”, again
Well, that’s a waste of time for sure. Smartphones were designed to make our lives more convenient, to make us less dependent on stationary or not so mobile devices. But then, we realised that we can look up everything at any time and now we’re spending thousands of hours starring at a small display reading stuff we don’t need to.
Never before did we have so much envy about photos shared between friends, never before the depression rate was so high. If we spend less time on a screen, we’re happier, we’re more relaxed.
We’re acknowledging that doing nothing is fine and does do good to our lives.
Now that we know what’s a waste of time, what would happen if we avoid it? Yes, we’d have more time available. For doing nothing. For wasting time. The only difference? We’d waste it on purpose, with the goal of doing nothing. If we do this, we’re not facing this “feeling behind” thinking anymore. We’re acknowledging that doing nothing is fine and does do good to our lives.
Wasting time isn’t bad. If we embrace it and do it on purpose, do it without seeking for distraction (watch TV, Insta, Snap) it’s a very powerful tool. Let’s use it more often. At work and in our life.