Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wasting Time

You might consider this a topic worthy of conversation, and you may not.  It's a very relative and individual thing.  Wasting time, that is.

OK, let's begin with a few basic things.  A lot of people work full time. Many people work overtime, and still others may work a lot of overtime.  And they may be in a relationship.  They may be married with children.  In any case, they have a truckload of responsibilities - to their employer, to their spouse, to their children and friends.  They have tasks to attend to once they're home from working.  A lot of people will claim that they really don't have a lot of free time, and that may be a perfectly legitimate statement.

Let me pause at that point and state the obvious; we are all, for the most part, in charge and in control of our own lives.  Most of us make the conscious decision(s) about how much stuff we want on our plate, our agenda, our to do list.  Some folks enjoy being busy all the time, in fact, they're not happy if they're not busy.  The motives for their activity level aren't really important, it's just that they feel happiest when they feel they're being productive.  As long as they're getting something done, they feel good about themselves.

Productivity - per se - is a good thing. Managing our time is often essential, no matter what that time is used for.  We all get the same 24 hours in a day.

But…now…when we're at a point where we think we've accomplished enough in one day, when we say to ourselves,"OK…enough of that for a while…I'm going to take a break, that's where things get interesting.  That break might be a coffee break, a smoke break, a nap, reading a book, taking a short walk, or any of a million things.  What they all have in common, however, is that all of these activities are usually something other than work/labor.  They are a change of pace for both our minds and bodies, and in that sense, it really doesn't matter what they are.  We merely choose to do something else, something other than necessary tasks.  Usually - but not always - breaks are not what one would call productive.  They're not meant to be.  That is not their purpose.

So, with that in mind, whereby to we come up with the phrase wasting time?

Let me suggest what I would consider a waste of time:  trying to accomplish a task (any task) with the wrong tool.  Let's say you had to dig a trench in the back yard for an electrical or a garden project.  If the trench were of any length and depth, a trenching machine might be the best tool of choice as opposed to a military surplus folding shovel.  But maybe you can't afford to rent a trenching machine and don't know how to use one.  Then, perhaps you simply have to do the best you can with what you have.

Perhaps a better example might be clearing some land of a few small trees.  A chainsaw would be the tool of choice, as opposed to an axe.  It's simply more efficient, saving both time and labor.

But when it comes to non-labor tasks or activities, who is to say when (and if) time is wasted?

Unless one is guilty of shirking some work or responsibility and engaging in some recreational activity, instead, how can anyone make a judgement about another's choice of entertainment?

If you've got some time to kill, or basically just use any way you damn well please, who's to say what's wasted?

A couple of activities that seem to get criticized most are video games and internet activity.  I've logged countless hours on both activities and have no reservations or guilt about any of it.  Would it be somehow better if I just sat on the back porch and whittled on a stick with a pocket knife?  As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter if you're playing Candy Crush on Facebook, or you're down by the creek, dropping pebbles into the water.

It's simply a matter of choice and someone else's negative opinion of your activity doesn't mean squat.

As far as waste is concerned, we all waste a variety of things; food, water, fuel, materials, resources but we don't put any guilt on ourselves for that.

Your waking, breathing hours are yours to use, abuse or waste any way you choose.  As long as you're doing your job and being responsible, you don't have to take any crap from anyone as to how you use any non-labor time.

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