FRIDAY THOUGHTS: WHY THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS WASTED TIME - THE JUSTIFICATIONS OF A MASTER PROCRASTINATOR






'The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time'.

Time is a funny old thing, isn't it? It's one of the only things that we can't control, or fully understand. I could get a little philosophical on ya ass, because this student spent years studying Metaphysics and trying to grapple with big questions like, 'what is time, anyway?' Is time a real dimension independent of events, or merely a 'social construct', a human invention that allows us to make sense of the world?  But this isn't a Philosophy essay, so let's move off this tangent, (I hope I haven't lost you already!), I'll save you from that brain muddle!

Frankly, it doesn't really matter, because it rules our lives, either way. Time is elusive and it's paradoxical. So often it evades us even though it's constantly looming over us. It's both a blessing and a curse: we're grateful that we have more, but it's also a constant source of life's pressures. The indefinite and irreversible nature of it means that we go through life constantly keeping track of it, worrying that we're wasting it, that we're not appreciating it, that we're not 'living in the moment'. 

Now more than ever, there's a culture of needing to constantly make 'good use' of our time. Though this in itself is hard to define. 'Good use' is often seen as doing something productive; if it doesn't refer to working, then it refers to recreational activities like visiting the gym, or learning a new skill. I think fundamentally, it's seen as doing something that 'benefits' you - if a task you're participating in isn't 'bettering yourself' then it's seen as a waste of time, but I propose that we're getting this definition wrong. 


It's funny how much we beat ourselves up for doing nothing 'productive', right? Perhaps you spent a whole day in bed watching Netflix, reading gossip columns in magazines, or simply doing nothing. You've 'wasted time' because you haven't technically 'bettered yourself' or have anything to show for that time spent. But I would argue that this doesn't mean that you've wasted time - indeed, in my mind, the time you enjoy wasting is just as good a use of time as the time you spend being productive. Call this the life motto of a 'master procrastinator', if you will. 

I've always been procrastinator. For years and years, this made me just think of myself as lazy. Because best believe I can spend hours upon hours laying in bed doing absolutely nothing. I'm the type of girl to have a week to complete an essay at uni, but do nothing all week and then do all the reading and writing in one night. Not a healthy habit, I concede, but the point is, I got it done, and I used to spend that whole week feeling guilty about the fact that I wasn't working when I should be, knowing full well that a leopard does not change its spots and I'll be doing an all nighter at the end of the week. It's funny because now I don't think of myself as lazy. I know I'm a hard worker in fact, because when something needs to be done, I do it. So, does it really matter that I spend so much time 'doing nothing', when ultimately I achieve the goals I need to, and I enjoy that time I'm 'wasting', I think not, and I therefore refuse to accept this idea that a constantly 'busy' and 'productive' lifestyle is the best one. 

Time, to a certain extent, doesn't really matter. (A bit of a weird statement to make on a post in collaboration with a watch brand, eh?) But hear me out. I think far too often we put pressure on ourselves to be at constant maximum productivity; anyone else start the day with a to-do list as long as their arm but then only complete like 3 things? Yep, that used to be me constantly. I'd then do that annoying 'beating myself up' thing at the end of the day, where I'd go over the days events in my head, and lament over all the the time I had 'wasted' - maybe you took an hour or two to watch cat videos on youtube, or made a necklace out of bluetack (guilty... lol). We see this as laziness, but is it not just the brain taking a rest, a couple of hours or so a day to do something that isn't productive because it's what keeps us sane. I'm not saying that these are great ways to spent time. There are activities that are completely pointless. But I think it's more about reconstructing the way we think about time and what constitutes wasted time. Taking a break to do something 'unproductive' is not wasted time, so we should enjoy it! We're not robots who can constantly keep focused and work, so I think we should stop feeling guilty for it. More often than not, all those things on that to do list will be done exactly when I needed them to be. So did I really need to put pressure on myself to complete them all in one day? The time it took me to complete them didn't really matter in the end, so long as they were done when they needed to be done. Setting an ambitious list of tasks for one day can often be a recipe for disaster - you're bound to feel stressed, disappointed and ultimately guilty. There's only 24 hours in a day, after all. 



I've learnt to become more realistic with my to-do lists now. In actual fact, I no longer even bother to put time frames on them. Often, I'll write a to-do list when I have too many things to keep in my brain, and then just go through the list prioritising the most important on each day. My time away from uni and my sessions with my counsellor really helped with me retraining my mind and the way I think about time. Often now I'll start the day with the goal of only completely one important task in mind, and I find that so much easier to process. Anything else I achieve is then a bonus, and it means I can feel proud of myself for going beyond the goals I had set myself. When I first left uni for my health, every single task overwhelmed me, no matter how big or small, because I was so used to having long to-do lists to complete, and my mental state at the time just couldn't cope with it. Stripping it all back and learning how to prioritise just one task has made the process of getting things done so much easier now. I know what's most urgent, so instead of pushing myself to complete all tasks I complete them when I know I absolutely must. I guess this method doesn't work for everyone - a lot of people like to know they've completed something way before the deadline, but as we've seen, I'm a bit of a last minute person, so this works for me. 

This is one way I've found uni this year to be a lot less stressful. By keeping less track of time, I've somehow actually been better at keeping it! A little bit paradoxical, but I've found that without the mental pressure I had been setting myself of being productive all day and not wasting any time procrastinating, I somehow feel more motivated and productive. 


So, moral of this story? 

Let's stop demonising 'time wasting' so much whilst we glorify this ultra-busy 'sorry I have no time' lifestyle which simply isn't sustainable. We can't be productive all the time, and trying to convince ourselves that we can sets us up for a fail.

Take time to sit and watch meaningless crap on TV, procrastinate without guilt, and I guarantee you'll feel far more productive and refreshed when you actually come to completing the tasks you need to. Write to-do lists, but without time pressure. It's funny, but to me it seems that, the more we think about time and are pre-occupied with it, the less we really appreciate it. When you begin to just live it, without thinking about it, all of a sudden, things become a lot less stressful, and surprisingly, a lot more productive. Perhaps I'll leave another philosophical type question here, if you can bare it: maybe, just maybe, if time is a human structure, it's one that hinders us, more than helps. Since, from my experience, it would seem that the less I've been living a life ruled by time, the more I've come to utilise it. We are not stuck in sequential time in the way we think we are, when we 'waste time' we haven't really 'lost it' as we think we do. Instead of thinking of ourselves as existing inside time, something that we cannot control or harness, perhaps we should think of ourselves as time. Then, time becomes what we make of it, it doesn't feel so uncontrollable or looming. Making 'the best of it' simply becomes utilising it however one sees fit, without pressure or expectation.

Until next time, 
Bisous <3

Eva
xxx

Watch: c/o Henry London* (THE WESTMINSTER)

P.S. Enter in the code 'EVA20' at checkout for 20% off any Henry London watch. Browse the selection here.


This post is brought to you in collaboration with Henry London, who kindly sponsored the creation of this post. All items marked with an asterisk (*) were kindly gifted to me. As always all thoughts, opinions and creative direction are my own; please refer to my 'contact' page for my full disclaimer.

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