52 Comments

  1. I used to measure my ‘success’ by how many ‘important things’ I got done. I now measure my ‘success’ by my ability to just be.
    Age is a very wise teacher.

  2. This is a topic I wrestle with, nearly every day. I want to do all the “redeeming the time” kinds of things that I read in Scripture and from wise people, but I also want to take time to notice the beauty of every day. I’m slowly learning that productivity is not always measurable, and not everyone defines it in the same way — and that’s okay.
    Thank you for thinking out loud here about this important topic.

  3. Hi Christie,
    Last week I wrote a post about the big rocks theory of productivity and time management. We’re very much on the same wavelength when it comes to this topic and the importance of it. For me, I’m wasting my time if I in a day I haven’t done anything related to my intentions. If I have, then anything else I choose to do is downtime or helpful to someone else or whatever. But if I haven’t take any steps during the day to support my intentions, then all of that other stuff is busy work that I use to procrastinate.
    Karen

    • That’s a useful perspective, Karen. I’ll stop by your blog to read about the big rocks theory. I make sure I do at least one small thing each day that supports my four primary values: health, joy, learning, and relationships. Have a lovely intentional week!

  4. It is a fine line, isn’t it, Christie? Too many times I let expectations draw that line for me — what I think others expect, and even what I expect of myself. We’ve become so intent on being “intentional,” on being productive, that we forget the value enjoying something just for the enjoyment’s sake. I like your point about progressing; if we are progressing, or helping others to progress in some way, it is not wasted time (even if we are just progressing in learning to relax a little! 😊)

    • Thanks for stopping by, Wendy. It is a fine line indeed. After a lifetime of looking toward the next big goal, I’ve been working this year on finding that balance between progression and being fully present in the moment. I hope to have it perfected by the time I retire. 😉

  5. This is a subject that most of us retirees struggle with and I guess there is no one right answer. It is all a matter of balance and self-knowledge… what works for you and your loved ones. Right now, I’m just finishing up “wasting” about an hour on reading and commenting on blogs. After that, I’ll probably go for a walk. It’s all good.

    • Thanks for spending some of your valuable “wasted” time with my blog. In all seriousness, I agree wholeheartedly that it comes down to knowing yourself and being in tune with your motivations. I hope you enjoyed your walk.

  6. I totally agree Christie and love your quotes. My daughter is an executive and works long hours plus she has a 4 y.o. and one on the way. She loves watching mindless TV shows because she doesn’t have to think. It all depends as you say on whether you get enjoyment – for whatever reason or whether you are just procrastinating. We all have the same number of hours in a day and it is our choice how we use them. Thank you for being the first to join us in our new #MSTL link up and hope to see you again next Wednesday. xx

    • I can relate to your daughter’s need for some mindless entertainment. There are days when I get home after an intense day at the office, and I just can’t think anymore–and I don’t even have children at home to care for. On the other hand, I am at times aware that I am putting off writing, for example, by checking my email or eating a snack or any number of distracting things. I do believe being aware of your motivation and committing to whatever you choose to do is the key. Thank you for hosting the new #MSTL link up. I’m very excited about it.

  7. This is something that I think about every day. I think if what you are doing is important to you then it’s not time-wasting. Also sometimes we need to take time out to just be.

    • So true Jennifer. For me, mindfulness is key–purposefully choosing how I want to spend my time and then being fully present for whatever it is. (That’s the part I’m still working on.)

  8. I’ve written and deleted about 4 comments to this. Here goes. There’s a balance between the downtime that’s productive – whether for connections, to rest your brain, to recharge, or to pause between tasks (eg I often do something “time wasting” between finishing my corporate gig for the day and starting my writing work – it uses a different part of the brain) – and the downtime that’s a procrastination tool. The trick is in finding that sweet spot.

    • Jo, I appreciate the thought that went into your comment. It is interesting that the same activity may be a time waster on one occasion and productive downtime on another, depending on your motivation. Also, you can be doing next to nothing (recharging) and not wasting time, and conversely, you can be extremely busy wasting time.

  9. Christie, this is a great post and it made me think. If I am procrastinating, then almost anything I do is a way of wasting time. For example, I consider reading, both novels and non fiction a vital part of my existence. However I feel guilty and feel like I am wasting time if I read when i am supposed to be doing something else.

    Television is the same. Much of it is wasting time, but sometimes it is a nice way to relax and enjoy time with my husband. Sometimes I learn things.

    Social media is tricky. I have to use it for business and I love connecting with family and friends. There is also a lot that needs to be filtered out- time wasting videos and posts about things I am not interested in. those can absorb me if I am not careful.

  10. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Gary Vaynerchuk’s (the author of Crushing It) comment that “You’re going to die.” Having reached midlife, that reality now seems so much closer than it did when I was in my twenties. And it really makes me re-evaluate how I want to spend my time. I’m at an age where I am feeling so creative and driven to stretch myself and make a difference, but I also don’t want to be on my death bed someday wishing I hadn’t worked so hard, or that I had paid more attention to my husband or kids, or done more for others. That thought is really making me reevaluate how I spend my time, and it’s driving me to want to find balance. I guess I don’t consider any time wasted if it fills a need for my in some way, but I am trying to spend my limited minutes, hours, days, years – mindfully. Great, thought-inspiring blog post – thank you!

    • Welcome Gena. Thanks for joining the conversation. I agree with you that mindfulness is the key. It’s when we catch ourselves zoning out in front of the television or the computer or running around like crazy that we need to re-evaluate. The hard part is making the choices between equally valuable options. Finding that balance. And, of course, the balance changes over time.

  11. You are so right Christie – I don’t believe any time is wasted if it gave us joy. Even the tough times (that we wish we didn’t have) or the boring times, or the lazy times all serve a purpose in our lives – they teach us lessons and the fun times are our reward for the hard work we do. Being reminded of this is always a good thing xx
    I’ve shared this to my social media #MLSTL <3

    • I like that Leanne–no time is wasted if it gives us joy. And the tough times do indeed shape us as much or more than the fun times. Thanks for creating the #MLSTL linkup. I love it already!

  12. Hi Christie! The older I get the less I seem to get done and I always worry that I am not getting things accomplished. Thank you for making me realize that I am not wasting my time when it is doing things I like to do like sitting with my husband in the evening and watching tv, checking in on my friends far and wide on fb and feeding my soul and passion by doing what I love and not always what I have to. Although I will confess that I am sometimes guilty of wasting time and procrastinating when needing to get something done…but aren’t we all a little guilty of this 😉

    • Yes, Suzi, I believe we are all guilty of wasting time procrastinating on occasion. At least I know I am. I guess the important thing is recognizing the difference, so that when you’re relaxing or feeding your passion, you can enjoy it guilt-free! Thanks for stopping by and joining in on the conversation. Have a wonderful day!

  13. In this fast-paced life we lead we are led to feel we must work, work, work to be successful. But success is measured differently by each of us just as what is considered a waste of time. For me, I think it’s about balance. I don’t consider watching a program that I enjoy on television as wasted time, but if I were to sit for hours watching TV it would be. Moderation in all things.

  14. Probably what I do on any given day is busy work and could be considered wasted time but it makes me happy. Right now we are in Fl. for the winter and my intentions are to relax and enjoy the weather, the beach, and family. I think wasted time is in the eye of the beholder.

  15. I think there is mindless time wasting and wasting time because you actually want to … like daydreaming sitting under a tree. Random TV is time wasting for me, but blogging and sitting in front of the computer isn’t! I think at the end of the day we have to be able to look back on our lives without regret.

  16. We recently made a huge, life changing move abroad. During this process I am unable to work(immigration stuff). I am now a Haus Frau. At first, all I felt was intense anxiety! How could I be considered productive or even important in any way without “work”? (I was a RN in the States). Well, after some time I have come to realize that taking time for myself and my family is never wasted. I read much more often now, I make all of our meals, I keep the house tidy and most importantly, I find joy and happiness is everything I do. I agree, time is not wasted if you are enjoying yourself.

    • Welcome Cherie. Thanks for stopping by. I’m intrigued by your international move. I will definitely be checking out your blog. I can imagine a sudden shift from the high-responsibility job of RN to house and family manager (also high responsibility, now that I think of it) would create anxiety. At the end of the day, I like to think finding and spreading joy is everyone’s real job, whatever we do for a living.

  17. I love the quote about the time you enjoy isn’t wasting time. It’s so true Christie, we can waste time instead of doing something else but at the moment I’m quite ok with just ‘being’ and not doing for the sake of doing. A great thought provoking post and I especially love the quotes.

    • Thanks Debbie. If we’ve always been accomplishment-oriented, it takes some effort to learn to “just be” without the sharp focus on doing. In fact, I now start my morning meditation with, “No where to go. Nothing to do.” If I find myself thinking about my to-do list while meditating, I go back to “No where to go. Nothing to do.” It sounds like you may have it figured out. That gives me hope.

  18. Hi Christie, Having known people who died at relative young age, I’m very conscious of time and how to use it wisely. For me, I spend time on people that I care about, activities that I enjoy, and quiet time to recharge.

    • Those are three great guidelines for where to invest your time, Natalie. I too have known and loved some people who died young. None of us is guaranteed another day, so it is important to make the most of each one. Here’s to today!

  19. I adore the quote “time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time”! I enjoy some of those mindless activities – reading romance novels, playing games on my tablet. They settle me. I’ve started to think some of my mindless activities actually help me be more mindful. I also think learning to just be has helped me be less worried about wasted time.

    For me, wasted time these days is when I am doing something that is letting me procrastinate something else that fits better with my values but I might be fearful of getting started.

  20. I am at the point where I don’t really care what others expect from me. I don’t that hassle from others.

    Also, I have gone in a lot of areas in my life to more a circular time base than a linear time base. It has helped me become more grounded.

    Thanks for this #MSTLL

    • Welcome Patrick. Thanks for joining the conversation. I agree that what constitutes a waste of time is very personal and not about what others expect. For some of us, it takes a while to learn that lesson, but when it comes, it’s freeing.

  21. Such words of wisdom. If it is something you enjoy (and it’s legal and not hurting you or anyone else), then I don’t that activity can be considered a waste of time. I guess everything in moderation, maybe?

  22. Ah! You have hit upon a fascinating topic here! It is insightful that you paired time wasting with procrastination! As someone with multiple businesses each needing continual attention, time wasting is a luxury for me – but also a necessity. As you pointed out, down time that nourishes and rejuvenates you is important. The older I become, the more time I allow myself time to seek joyful moments in just “being”. Having recently added blogging to my activities as I begin to let other activities go, I am delighted to have discovered this wonderful community of bloggers like you.

    • Welcome Linda. Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation. I’ve noticed many people have commented on allowing ourselves to just be, to enjoy downtime without guilt. The interesting thing is that many of those people (including you, it would seem) are very busy with traveling, blogging, creative pursuits, grandparenting, and other ventures. So it would appear you can get a lot done and still make room for relaxation. And you are right, we do have a wonderful blogging community. I’m glad you’ve joined us. The connections I’ve made are the best part about blogging so far.

  23. As you say, wasted time is in the eye of the time-waster. Circumstances surrounding how we waste time is what’s important. I know when I watch Korean RomCom Drama’s I’m enjoying downtime. I also know if I do that as a way to avoid something, it’s a waste of time. It’s a waste because other matters are more pressing and important and valuable (to people in my life).
    The time we get with people, I feel, is the most precious.

    • I agree with you Beth, the people in our lives are the most precious thing and deserve the lion’s share of our time. Thanks for joining the conversation. Have a lovely day of time well spent!

  24. Christie this post really resonated with me. I hope you don’t mind that I’ve written a post of my thought on this subject. Linking to your blog of course. Thanks for starting the conversation on this topic

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