Wasting time is as important as using it

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Robert Maurer


Wasting time is as important as using it

Sometimes wasting time means gaining life. Because unlike what we have been led to believe, time is neither money nor gold. Allowing ourselves moments of leisure and in which to limit ourselves to being, feeling and enjoying things is synonymous with well-being and happiness.

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: February 19, 2022

Wasting time is a very relative concept. So much so that it would be useful to revise this idea a little and even apply it from another point of view: that of a valid wellness tool. Let's think about it: we live in a society that has convinced us that time is "gold" and that every second of our life must be lived to gain an advantage, a profit.

Accepting this approach literally brings us closer to that familiar and recurring maze of ailments such as stress and anxiety. These are those conditions which, like a thermometer, reflect a latent disease of our world, namely that of neglecting ourselves. On the other hand, time is not gold, neither silver nor copper: time is life.

Knowing how to manage it and allowing ourselves to do nothing from time to time, limiting ourselves instead to "being, feeling and staying", allows us to gain health. However, it costs us a lot to put this idea into practice. When we spend many hours of our life in "productivity" mode, even the mind comes to interpret that lying on the sofa and resting is wasting time.

On the other hand, Dr. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, an expert in time management and also known for his work as a consultant at Silicon Valley, explains in his book Rest: why you get more when you work less than it's time to do a thorough review of our lifestyle and work.

We must be aware of the fact that sometimes wasting time means gaining it; it is allowing ourselves to recharge our batteries and find calm in the disorder.

Working better does not mean working more, but working less, with greater productivity and better rest.

-Alex Soojung-Kim Pan-

Wasting time means gaining in terms of life

Max Weber, a renowned philosopher, economist and sociologist of the early twentieth century, has left us a valid reflection that seems to have dispersed over time. In his opinion, with the arrival of the industrial revolution, people began to experience work almost as a moral principle. Working was no longer just a way to earn money for subsistence, it was (and is) much more than that.

Work is for many a tool to give dignity to the human being. Activity is productivity, it is recreation and it is a means by which to contribute to society. All of this is clear, but sometimes we take it to the extreme. To such an extent that many people are unable to relax, resulting in genuine frustration, and even guilt, when they do nothing.

The approach that inactivity is synonymous with wasting time causes psychological deterioration. An example is given by a curious study conducted at the University of Mainz, in Germany, by Dr. Leonard Reinecke. An interesting fact emerges from this study: most of us judge ourselves negatively when we spend time in front of the television.

We enjoy watching movies and series, but part of us often acts as a stern judge. The reason? We complain to ourselves inactivity and the fact that we are wasting time.

Don't act like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland

-I'm in a hurry! I'm in a hurry, it's late! - said the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. This cute character is an icon and represents like no other the image of that intolerance that defines many: that of hyper-occupation. Let's face it: we always have something to do, we are always busy checking the clock and with the indefinable anguish of not being able to do our duty.

These behaviors are also fueled by hyper-responsibility and by demanding too much of oneself. We must do it immediately and perfectly, two dimensions that certainly lead us towards the abyss of anxiety and those psychological stages that are so exhausting.

The culture of productivity and perfection has made us guilty simply by giving ourselves time to "do nothing". Sometimes even when we are enjoying a well deserved vacation, our mind tortures us with thoughts of all the things we think we should do.

Give yourself time, obsess yourself with life

Sometimes wasting time doesn't take anything away from us; on the contrary, it gives us life. The time has come to eliminate the "shoulds" and "musts" from our minds. It is the right time to allow us to be children again, letting ourselves be carried away by boredom, even from that dimension where the voice of our inner self finally arises, which feels free, relaxed and even playful.

The art of doing nothing is allowed and practicing it for several hours a day does not leave bruises, but opens doors. The mind clears itself, creativity, reflection and the noise of intuition flourish. In fact - as already pointed out by Dr. Alex Soojung-Kim Pan in his book Rest ('to rest') quoted above - we must understand that working better does not necessarily mean working more. He demonstrates, in fact, that by working fewer hours we become more productive and that the quality of our life improves.

We therefore learn to be passionate about that exceptional gift which, however much we would like with all our strength, is however limited; let's get obsessed with time. We give ourselves a dose of quality of life and the opportunity to simply limit ourselves to living, existing, being, being there and enjoying the world through the five senses.

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