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Time wasted - is it a waste of time?

So, we faff about, we procrastinate, we do all those other unimportant things when we could be … working, achieving, ticking things off our to-do list, doing housework, getting fitter – I could go on and you’re probably mentally adding your own stuff.

If you’re struggling with focus or unable to concentrate due to depression or unhappiness, that’s a different issue and an important one that needs to be faced, understood and treated with kindness. No, what I’m talking about here is the other every-day kind of time wasting.

There’s taking a moment to smile because the sun is shining and doing that British thing of sharing your pleasure in sunshine with your friends, your colleagues, random people you bump into at the shops. There’s chuckling at that cute e-mail your friend sent you with kittens, or puppies, or laughing babies. There’s that witty meme doing the rounds where some politician you don’t like ends up looking really dumb. There’s chatting to your friend(s) about nothing in particular.

When you can look at these examples of time-wasting stuff, stuff we do when we could or should be doing something else, something more worthy, or a more “proper” use of time … can you really say it’s a waste. Did that stuff give you joy? Did you feel pleasure in those moments? Because if you did, how can it be a waste of time?

Of course, like all things, there’s a line to tread, a balance to be found. Work needs to be done, the house needs cleaning, the children need to be fed, we need to maintain good health, pay our bills … So, if you spend ALL your time doing time-wasting things then, yes, that is a problem and you need to stop and take a good look at why that is (or give me a call). But if you don’t take the time to – metaphorically – smell the flowers once in a while, then you’d be wasting the opportunity for some simple pleasures.

We’re all busy, busy, busy. Somehow it feels almost sinful not to be. It’s almost as if we’re afraid of being judged, or of finding we have nothing to do.

There’s a great cartoon I’d love to use but for copyright issues: three people in hard hats holding up signs, the first says: Stop! The second says: Smell the Flowers! and the last? The last says: Resume tearing through your life like a Maniac! Remember to do the first and the second, because I’m sure I don’t need to be telling you to do the last one.

© 2016 Caring Coaching originally posted 29th September 2016