Mar 27, 2023
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Reframing Wasting’ Time
Fear about ‘wasting time’ is something I'm hearing time and time again at the moment. Pun intended.
As a society we’re so wired to be busy and rushing around all the time. People often wear it as a badge of honour.
If you’re not busy then you’re doing something wrong.
Thinking this way has taken away some of the simple joys in life for many so I wanted to do a little reframing of the ways that people might perceive to be ‘wasting’ time that in fact, are doing wonders for our mental, and physical health.
I’d love that the next time you allow yourself to ‘waste’ some yourself, that you feel good about it.
Mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russel said it best when he said, ‘The time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time.’
As always, this is nuanced. There are some very real reasons that we fear this. Often chaos is encoded into our nervous system as the baseline of safety so it's always going to seek it in order to stay alive.
This is where deep healing work and self awareness comes into play and if you think that might be going on I highly recommend talking with your therapist about it and doing some research because it’s actually very common.
It’s also very changeable but it starts with the self awareness to recognise that you find it incredibly difficult to allow yourself to rest or relax.
I do feel like the tide is turning with the rise of JOMO, Joy Of Missing Out.
I believe the only ‘wasted’ time is the time where you TELL yourself you’re wasting it and then by proxy, don’t enjoy it.
I hear people all the time saying they’re giving themselves time to relax, but when you dig a little deeper, that time ‘relaxing’ was actually spent mentally beating yourself up.
Or overthinking something you need to do and have been putting off.
Or researching something you’re going to do.
We can even look at the time we spend looking after ourselves as wasted time too.
So what do we do about this?
As usual it’s good old self awareness for the win.
Imagine that moment when the guilt switched to realising you’re enjoying yourself, and ALLOWING it to happen.
What would you do?
Would you chase some creative pursuits or start learning a new skill…even if you’re rubbish at it to begin with?
What are you wiring in?
You’re wiring that it’s ok to not nail something on the first try. You’re wiring that it’s beneficial and enjoyable to have a beginner's mind. You’re wiring that you can GET good at something over time.
Would you spend time reading?
What are you wiring in?
You’re wiring that it’s ok to take time for you. You’re wiring that you are allowed to take time for something you enjoy. Whether it’s learning with non-fiction or a little escapism with fiction.
Would you be able to spend time with friends or family, even if you did nothing in particular?
I love doing this. Just chilling out with friends. Whether it’s spending a whole day in the pub just chatting, or having a pajama party and watching a movie.
Some people might consider that wasted time and that you should ‘do’ more with it, but I really believe the opposite.
I believe these times are SO important because it allows you to just be!
Not have to perform in any way. Be nothing and no one but totally yourself. Be in the company of people you love.
There’s so much pressure around us to ‘be’ or ‘do’ or ‘perform’ a certain way when a lot of the time our bodies or minds are screaming out to do less and rest more.
The only way out of this cycle is awareness.
As you’re thinking about things that you have often previously thought of as ‘wasting’ your time, even if you enjoyed it, what comes to mind for you?
What would you do more of if you didn’t think of it that way?
What would be on your ‘wasting time’ list?
How much more joy would it bring into your life?
What difference could or would it make to how you feel?
How can you bring your inner child in to play with it too?
What did you LOVE doing as a kid that you stopped?
Could you get back into it?
The bottom line is if it’s something you enjoy doing, it’s NOT wasted time.
Cliche as it sounds we really do only get this one life. You’re all here because you want to feel more positive right?
It can be so much easier than we think and it starts with awareness, curiosity and the willingness to challenge your, other people’s and society’s opinions.
Call BS on what you don’t agree with and go chase that joy!
If joy lives in chilling out, peace, ease and flexibility like it does for me…amazing.
If joy lives in sitting in nature just watching and listening to the scenery…amazing.
If joy lives in taking yourself for dinner by yourself or people watching in cafes…amazing.
If joy for you lives in spending hours learning a new skill and still being bad at it…amazing!
If joy for you lives in doodling in notebooks that will never see the light of day…amazing.
If joy lives in writing, with no intention of ever publishing…amazing.
If joy for you lives in naps and pajama parties for one…amazing.
We really need to get to know ourselves on a far deeper level and give ourselves permission to do the things we enjoy.
Knowledge really is power in this instance.
You just need to see this behaviour in your kids to see the happiness it brings, the good that it does and development it creates.
The same still applies as adults! We just lost that gift over time due to other people’s and societies opinions of what we ‘should’ be doing with our time and what counts as high value or low value tasks.
We get to take that decision back.
Nothing you enjoy doing is ever wasted time! Let go of the guilt and do more of it!
See how much of a difference it makes.