Have You Been Wasting Time?

“Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. ”

~John Lennon

 

  I find it interesting that in our fast-paced, multi-tasked world, so often things that are relaxing are considered a waste of time. Days are often evaluated in terms of how much was “done,” usually meaning how much work was accomplished.  While this may be appropriate in the workplace, it often carries over into the home.

 

Many will make lists of all that has to be done, be it inside work or outside work. Usually there is more on the list than is humanly possible to do in one day, but, nonetheless often the focus is more on what did not get done, than what was done.

Because we know we are evaluating ourselves in relation to that list, anything that interferes, or is not on the list is seen as a threat to our success. A mental clock is ticking in the back of our heads keeping us aware of how this interruption is setting us back.

This all creates a certain level of tension, or at least being in a bit of a rush; “gotta get this done so I can go on to the next thing on my list.”

It also rules out spontaneity: when we are working the list, there is no going with the flow.

Another thing that happens is that “work” is like the “meat and potatoes” while taking time to relax is “dessert.”  And we all know the rule: no dessert until you finish your dinner.  There is, however, always something more on the list.

Consequently the novel does not get read, the nap is not taken, no time is spent lying on the grass watching the sky, the dog does not get played with quite enough, and to family members we might just be a blur rushing by, and sometimes a cranky blur.

Consider this: the moments we cherish and will always remember are not the ones experienced while following our list. Most likely they are precisely those spontaneous moments when we just relaxed and were fully present to what and who was around us.  These moments are precious and just might indicate that we need to reconsider our concept of wasted time.

 

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist.  For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit www.gwen.ca

Leave a Reply