Photo by Lukas Blazek from Unsplash
The biggest mistake people make is to waste time on insignificant things that don’t do them good. Time is the most precious asset in life. It’s something we can never take back, rewind, or freeze. It’s a treasure that holds the most value, yet ironically, we don’t exactly know how to use it right. Every day for the rest of our lives, we’re forced to face this time management conundrum as if we’re this perfect individual who knows what to say or act all the time.
Every day, we’re troubled with the decisions we make while considering the amount of time we take up for making them. The feeling of regret is one of the many reasons we scare away from taking accountability for our actions. We don’t want to deal with the opportunity costs that come with the fickleness of time. People talk a lot about how we should not waste time, but no one talks about what they mean by it.
Is choosing to do something spontaneous instead of following your daily routine a waste of time? Is trying to win a game you’re not fond of playing waste of time? Is having dinner with your family on a Friday night a waste of your time? One’s definition of a waste of time depends on his interests, priorities, goals, and everything he holds important.
Anything that contradicts the success of his goals is considered a waste of time. What you do in exchange for your time is a very personal choice. What you consider a waste of time may not be for other people. Long story short, we are not in the place to judge what people should or shouldn’t be doing with their time. As for the rest of us, we spend most of our time worrying about tomorrow, but while in this anxious state of mind, all we ever get out of it is giving in to our dangerous thoughts.
The value of time may be relative to different people, but we are still susceptible to the factors that tempt us to lose sight of how much time is worth. Procrastination, loss of motivation, inadequacy — these are only some of the daily struggles we face that hinder us from spending our time wisely. We waste every minute of our day by failing to choose discipline over these.
You need to understand carefully that it’s a different matter when you force yourself to work even when your body says no. It’s a different case when you burn yourself out in the name of being consistent in your work schedule. When you’re too tired to meet your demands, you’re not being productive. What you’re doing is compromising your health because of arrogance. Taking time to rest and relax is not a waste of time. Giving yourself a break is not the same as procrastinating or laziness. It is a necessary action to keep yourself able and equipped to do your job.
10 WAYS YOU’RE WASTING TIME WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING:
CONVINCING OTHERS TO SEE YOU
This is what people, mostly unconfident ones, usually do that keeps them in the losing position. They think the existence of their worth is conditional on the ability of the people they want to please to see it. You don’t ever need to persuade other people to recognize your value. You don’t need to explain to them what makes you special and how skillful you are — they will see it themselves. It’s not only a waste of time, it’s also a huge insult on your part.
Stop convincing others to see the goodness in you. Stop telling them how much you’ve been through if they’re not at all interested. You deserve more than oblivious sore losers. Don’t waste any more of your time seeking for approval from strangers who know nothing about your story. Don’t waste time living the expectations of those who leave you when you’re down. It’s your life; you make your destiny. You must never let anyone decide who you are on the inside; only you can tell.
All you need to do is to show them what you can do, but you don’t need them to tell you how you good you are. Show them your capabilities, but never let them store you in a box. Show them the results of your hard work. Show them the upgraded version of yourself after years of bullying and criticism. Instead of telling them false promises and meaningless words, show them what you can do.
LACK OF PLANNING
The failure to plan your day results in an unproductive day. When we don’t plan out our day, we usually face it too unmotivated to start and too anxious to make a move. Without a plan, we lose track of our priorities because we’re not disciplining ourselves to do small, feasible objectives. There is no clear direction to where we’re heading and what we want to achieve by the end of the day.
We need to maintain the drive, the fire that’s vital to reach the end of the finish line. Moreover, when we make plans, it helps us picture out our goals which keep us focused as opposed to having an on and off relationship with them. It’s the same way when you don’t organize your things, you spend unnecessary time looking for them.
To avoid this common predicament, put your things in the right places every time (and label it or put a distinctive area in your room to make it more efficient). Being disorganized with your things can reflect the control you have over your thoughts. When you plan out your day, your activities will likely be set and customized in order which will help you achieve your goals efficiently.
SAYING YES TO EVERYTHING
A lot of people don’t realize how spreading yourself too thin entails more risks than rewards. These risks cost your energy, skill, time, and many other valuable resources which may or may not be worth it in the end. You may get a few applause here and there from people who benefit from you doing favors for them. You may also get compliments from other people saying how flexible and talented you are, but if you think about it, their validation doesn’t really do anything for you.
Saying yes to everything reflects the level of commitment you have to your goals. It can mean you’re not serious enough about achieving your goals because you keep doing other things instead of prioritizing your own. Remember that your work requires commitment, and you can’t be committed to a lot of obligations. When you keep saying yes to every request, you will fail to attend to your tasks.
When you say yes to everything, you will enter a new life where you resent people, mutually hurt them in the process, and take risks without fully understanding the potential consequences. Saying yes to everything may feel nice at first because it makes you feel like a superhero for doing so many things but it’s only until real sacrifices are made. If you can’t set boundaries and look after yourself in the process, you are not only delaying your success but also holding yourself back from greater opportunities. You need to learn how to carefully manage and weigh opportunities that come for you.
WAITING FOR THE PERFECT CIRCUMSTANCE TO START
Everybody wants a clean slate to start, but not everyone gets to have that chance. To those who are lucky enough to get that clean slate, they overanalyze the situation and try to make it perfect. In their mind, if they were given a second chance, they would do it again; this time, error-free as much as possible. This need for perfection will be the death of your dreams. It’s either you’re too scared to make a mistake or too idealistic to do anything less than what you expect.
Regardless, you’re wasting your time if you don’t make a move. Try to shift your perspective by accepting the fact that a clean slate isn’t required to guarantee success. It’s okay to be scared while doing your work. It’s okay to not be your most confident self all the time. We don’t always feel our best, but it doesn’t have to hold us back from starting something new. Our feelings define nothing but our humanness; they don’t shape the outcome of our decisions.
Many of us complain to the top of our lungs about everything wrong in a day. Not that complaining is ultimately bad, it also has its advantages, but at the very core of it, it’s waste of time. Instead of complaining, try to evaluate the situation at hand. What role do you play in this context? How can you contribute to this situation and to what extent can you make a change? Are you willing to compromise some important things you have for that change?
If not, don’t bother wasting your breath. Some things are simply outside of your power and there’s nothing more you can do about it. If you find yourself losing, gracefully walk away from the things that no longer serve their purpose to you. You don’t have to change anything. If all you do is complain and not find solutions to get yourself out of that place, then you are wasting your time. When you keep complaining, you’re not contributing significant changes to the problem. You’re making it worse. Complaining not only causes you stress but also to your environment. It can be a toxic behavior.
ARGUING WITH CLOSE-MINDED PEOPLE
Arguing with narrow-minded people is like talking to a wall. You’re wasting time and energy fighting with someone who will never have the decency to at least try to listen and understand your point. You’re wasting your time with people who don’t want to make peace, who don’t want to compromise. As you grow older, you will realize that winning against them isn’t the point.
Having the last word doesn’t compare to the joy of being unbothered by what they have to say. Don’t give them the satisfaction of your attention and anger. Let waste their own time bashing you. It’s their loss, not yours. What you should do instead is to talk and intellectually argue with people who are willing to listen. Surround yourself with people who want to know the solution to the problem, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, regardless of who makes the point.
There’s no point in arguing with close-minded people. When you finally realize that close-minded people only select what to concede without fully understanding the entire message, you stop trying to argue with this type of people. People only listen to you according to their perspective. It’s better to go with your own way regardless if they agree with you or not.
NOT BEING FIRM WITH YOUR DECISIONS
Usually, this is a case of analysis paralysis. Indecision gets you stuck in one place, keeping you from taking another step. Most people are unable to decide because they’re overthinking and overanalyzing the situation at hand. They do this because of their deep fear to face the consequence of their actions. They think whatever comes into their mind is exactly what’s going to happen, and this makes them the very victims of the tricks of their minds.
The fear of uncertainty and the feeling of not being able to answer their what-if questions are making them insane. To avoid analysis paralysis, you need to understand that no matter what choice you make, you would never be guaranteed the outcome. No one in this world can predict the future, and mostly, the majority of your worries don’t happen. Avoid wasting more of your time by going through the process of hurting and healing, not getting out of it.
This includes learning to be responsible for your actions. Before doing anything, think three steps ahead, and then analyze carefully about what would happen if those three possibilities do or don’t work out. Think about how this would affect you and everyone around you. Think about the actions you’re willing to take and assess if they are worth the cause you’re fighting for. When you’re tangled in a lose-lose position, be brave enough to accept what’s coming. Remember that you’ve done all you can that’s within your control; anything beyond that is not your fault, and shouldn’t be on your conscience.
COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
Social media has made it possible to witness and be a part of what other people are doing with their lives. As selfish-natured humans, we’re forced to look at the parts we lack that are present in other people. We pay more attention to our defects than our edges. If you compare yourself to others often, you spend all your time adoring their lives and hating your own.
Also, it makes you lose sight of what you have that they don’t. It causes you to be scornful and ungrateful for your blessings. To avoid the self-destructive habit, be wary and strict about your social media use. The responsible thing to do is to adjust the settings on your feed to control the content you see. This way, you can be aware of the information that’s exposed to you online and respond to it critically.
Quit beating yourself up by measuring your worth to others’ standard of prosperity. Remember that you can be as successful or even more successful than others without following in their footsteps. You can venture through life in your unique way without bruising your self-esteem.
NOT BEING HONEST WITH YOURSELF
Nothing wastes more time than making a fool out of yourself. The problem with society nowadays is people feeding on the mentality that you’re less than a person if you’re not the best with all aspects of life. They think that having a gift in singing isn’t enough to be the best; you should also be excellent in Scrabble and awesome on the dance floor, for example.
The pressure of being a jack-of-all-trades is insane. You can attend all the classes you want and learn from the best mathematicians, but if you truly don’t have a gift with numbers then there’s nothing more you can do. Some people always find a way to make a competition out of something and involve themselves in it. This is a matter of self-awareness; on how deep you know yourself and how honest you are about your feelings and intentions.
Sometimes, you need to accept the truth that you can’t run away from your nature. You also need to reprogram your mind about loving your nature instead of constantly challenging it. There’s nothing wrong with improving your strengths but there’s also nothing wrong with loving who you are. You don’t have to be the best in every talent nor should you be comparing your abilities to others. Stop wasting time by lying to yourself about what you can do well and what you can’t.
REPEATING THE SAME MISTAKE
Most people rarely notice the huge chunk of time it takes to fix a mistake only for you to do it again. If you don’t learn your mistake right away, it will cost much more time and energy to ascend you back when you fall back down the rabbit hole. It’s essential that you carefully think about what you say and do that might risk going back to the same mistake that got you in that mess before.
If you ponder on it, the time it took to fix the problem and restore your mental state could’ve been used to embark on a new career or strengthen your existing relationships with your co-workers. A lot of things can be done with little time, and it would be so much better if it didn’t involve digging up the past and dressing a wound that could’ve been avoided in the first place.
Be vigilant around the people who come up to you with shady interests. If you sense trouble, cut off all ties immediately. Do any defense mechanism you can to not lean towards the same trap. Your time is worth more than that.
Whether we like it or not, time moves every day. It gets shorter every second, and it’s up to us to make it count. People may not be the judge of your time, but you are. Don’t give them the chance to control your life. Learn to analyze and segregate which activities or pursuits aren’t worth a penny of your time. Invest in knowing and taking care of yourself; that’s where it all starts.
Sometimes, it’s our own thoughts that paralyze us from spending time the way we want to. What’s making people waste their time is overthinking and trying to predict the future. It’s okay to let loose and let life take its course, as long as you never sight of your ultimate ambition. Whatever path you may lead to and the obstacles that come along with it, it is never time wasted as long as you’re happy and loved.
“Life is lived in time. Therefore he who wastes time, wastes life.”Vincent Okay Nwachukwu