Tag Archives: time

Wasting Time?


If you are reading this, you are probably guilty of wasting time as there are likely hundreds of more important things you could and probably should be doing instead. But since you are here…

Wasting time is a rather subjective matter. While there are many things that we all would consider time wasters (e.g., reading junk emails from those wanting to send us their millions if only we would send them our bank acct. number) we may just as likely disagree whether or not other activities are a waste of time. For example, am I wasting time if I play video games? If I play them with my kids? Am I wasting time reading up on the daily news? making comments on FB friends’ sites? Following my favorite political blogs? Looking for just the right picture to go on my PowerPoint slides for a class? Watching a Monk episode?

How do you determine what is a waste of your precious time and what is useful? What criteria do you use? Here’s what I notice: I set an agenda most days and rarely complete even 1/2 of it. When the day is over, I routinely surmise I must have wasted time. I talked to staff, got coffee 3 times from the pot upstairs (this is NOT a waste of time as I ran up the stairs and used the stimulant to focus my train of thought), answered numerous emails, sent snail mail, edited the two blogs I moderate, got beat in a ping pong match against a student, deleted spam, worked on a chapter I’m writing, read from a new journal I received, returned calls, etc. But, I didn’t accomplish all I had on my┬álist, so…

Notice that we often judge ourselves improperly. There are times when we should recognize time wasters and other times where we don’t do such a good job ascertaining what we really can accomplish. So, which are you? Do you overestimate what you should be able to do and therefore feel guilty for not being a superhero? Or do you tend to make excuses?

Now, get back to work, as I’ve just wasted 3 minutes of your precious work time.

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Filed under Cultural Anthropology, Psychology