“This is a waste of time”


“This is a waste of time” is one of the most unhealthy mentalities I’ve heard. What’s worse is that there are people around me who say this almost all the time. They say they are not going to waste time from now on. They are going to be productive all the time. Yeah, okay. Good luck with that, because I have yet to see one person who is productive all the time.

Usually when we think of time-wasting activities, we think of activities like playing video games, or watching the television, but it has come to my attention that there are also people who think reading novels is a waste of time. Now that is just sad, which inspired me to rant and ramble about this.

The common trend I see is that if someone sees one thing as a waste of time, he/she will start viewing other things as a waste of time as well:

Playing video games is a waste of time because you are immersed in a virtual world that won’t be of use to you in real life.

Watching the television is a waste of time because it does not help you put food on the table.

Reading novels is a waste of time because how will knowing fake stories ever going to help you pass your exam? (unless you are taking English)

School is a waste of time because by the time you graduate, most of the stuff you learned will be outdated.

Going to the doctors is a waste of time because you are just going to get sick again.

Living is a waste of time because you are just going to die so why bother.

Anything can be a waste of time if you really think about it. But how is anything a waste of time if you enjoy doing it? I think that time spent doing something I like is hardly wasting time at all. Happiness, in my opinion, should be the top priority in life. If you hate your job, you are wasting your time going to work everyday because you probably have very little motivation to do your job well anyways. Listening to a lecture you don’t enjoy is a waste of time because chances are, you aren’t even paying much attention to it.

Then there are times when you have to do something you don’t enjoy because you have no other choice. But instead of seeing them as activities we don’t enjoy, I think that we should see them as activities that will help us enjoy other activities better. For example, if you keep on doing chores, you can do them better and faster, so that you will have more time for activities you like later on.

Studies have shown that video games improve hand-eye co-ordination, watching television can make us become more aware of different things, and reading fiction increases your ability to feel empathy towards others. So if there are two sides to everything, then why always pick the negative side?

I do think there should be a limit though. If an activity starts to take over your desire for self-improvement and goal-setting, then it is not time well spent.

What do you think? Where should the line between wasting time and being productive be drawn?

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14 responses to ““This is a waste of time”

  1. I think the line should depend on how productive you are being overall in life and how much the “wasteful” activity affects your happiness. If wasting time is making you more miserable by being lazy and sitting around all day then it is bad! But if you’re successful in life and allow yourself to indulge in mindless tasks it should not be an issue.

  2. A friend of mine used to always comment to me whenever I used the phrase, “That was a waste of time!” She and had some good discussions about the meaning of the phrase, but I think you defined it well. There really is no way to “waste” time, so to speak. You’re right! Even still, I feel sad sometimes when I could have spent my time a different way.

  3. I agree with you, if you do something that you enjoy it isn’t a waste of time, you are improving and learning. for example some people tells me that why do I read? its boring and I am wasting my time and even when I draw or paint they comment by its a waste of time. i reply by saying it isn’t, its fun and educational too, for me reading improves my writing and english language because english is my second language, and reading helps me imagine things, think alot and learn alot and thats good not a waste of time. therefore I love encouraging people to read.
    and thanks for writing about this topic its true what you said and people should stop saying this phase or sentence, looking forward for more of your posts.

  4. You have said this perfectly. You can find good in most any thing and anything no matter how good done in excess is bad.

    Very estute and well written.

  5. As someone who is most likely WAY older than you, I can tell you that many of the things that I THOUGHT were time-wasters before have become the things that I find of most value. I used to think that it was important to work. I still work, because I don’t have another way to support myself financially, but now I find myself working in a job where my take-home pay is half of what it was 5 years ago while I continue doing the same work. And for what? What great world-changing event will occur because of the work I do? None. I’m just like an ant that keeps following other ants around gathering food because I don’t know any different kind of life.

    Don’t wait until you’re my age before you begin to re-think what’s truly important. Take the time to enjoy yourself, enjoy your friends, enjoy your life. And don’t let anyone shame you into not doing so because it “wastes time.”

  6. I believe that everything is a learning experience, therefore, not a waste of time, although it may seem that way. Even reading novel or watching TV. So life is a journey full of learning experiences. Time is actually relative.

  7. In the grand scheme of life, each individual book that I read might be considered a “waste of time.” However, the fact that I read and read regularly adds up to some of the things that have been mentioned above: imagination, learning, comfort, empathy, and even vocabulary. I wouldn’t pick up a significant amount of that from a single book, but from reading constantly…and from occasionally taking my nose out of a book and putting all of that to use in real life.

  8. There is something called decision fatigue,
    it has been discovered that if you spend too
    much time makeing important decisions you
    start to lose your ability to make good
    decisions.

    In short – if one was to try to be productive
    all the time they would find themselves being
    destructive. Haste makes waste I guess.

    Buddists never shut up about this “Middle Path”
    Supposedly it’s the fine line between self-indulgence
    and total self deprivation. Other philosophies toute
    Balence – I guess it has something to do with that.

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