The top 10 ways to waste your time

We all know that our time is limited and we should put our precious time to good use. So, why are we not doing that? Why are we wasting so much of our time doing things we don’t like, that don’t help us, being frustrated and angry? I think one reason is because we’re afraid to go after our dreams. We are too afraid to fail. ‘Yeah, I could spend this evening taking the first step in making my dream come true (setting up your own business, planning a world trip, learning to play the guitar, etc.). Or… I could just watch TV, there’s a rather good show tonight. Yeah, let’s do that, I’ll take that first step tomorrow’. Of course, tomorrow never comes :). So, now that you’re aware of the pattern, it’s time to stop yourself from wasting your precious time and energy and tackle the problem head on; what are the best ways to waste your time? Here is my list of the top 10 ways to waste your time:

10. Watching television

In my opinion, watching TV is a huge waste of time. I stopped watching television around 2011. What I remember is that I always felt drained after an evening of watching television. It often felt promising before I started watching, but it never delivered. The problem with television is that it makes you completely passive.

To be honest, I do watch movies or series from time to time. The difference is that I choose what I want to choose, instead of having the channels decide that for me. Also, I decide how much I watch and when. I only watch the ones I really like and after watching them I continue to do other things I like.

Mindlessly watching TV turns you into a huge couch potato that consumes the images and sounds thrown at you. Not convinced? Think back at all those hours you’ve spent watching television and think of the good it brought you. Yep, that’s what I mean; many people waste their valuable free time with TV, with little to show for it.

9. Feeling hopeless about the state of the world

It’s so easy to get frustrated by what happens in the world and to end up feeling helpless. What can we do to stop war or hunger? Very little indeed. Yet, it’s that exact feeling of helplessness that keeps us from doing what we can do. There are a lot of things we feel concerned about, but which we cannot influence. Worrying about them is, simply put, a waste of time. It will drain you, make you feel helpless. There are, however, also a lot of things you do have influence over; your own actions, your own words.

If you focus on your own actions and choose them wisely, you can make the world around you a better place. Small actions can influence others to change their ways, which may lead to them changing people they know. Your actions can have a ripple effect, like a stone sends out ripples when thrown in a pond. So, stop worrying about the state of the world, stop watching the news. Doing so will only make you feel helpless. Instead, focus on what you can do to make the world a better place.

8. Staying mad at people

Perhaps you have heard of the saying: ‘Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of harming another; you end up getting burned’. Staying mad at people brings you nothing. It takes energy to stay mad and it lengthens the time you feel bad (angry). Others are often not even aware that you’re mad at them, although your mind may be telling you that is why you’re doing it. Instead, only you are feeling bad about it.

Even if the other person is aware that you’re still mad, it doesn’t bring you anything. It ruins the connection you have with them and with everyone else around you. Who wants to be around people who are often mad? Try to be forgiving and tell people when you’re hurt. Chances are they never meant to hurt you. What is a bigger waste of time than staying mad at someone over a misunderstanding?

7. Gossiping

Gossiping is something many people do. It is also a very harmful thing to do. Just a few words can destroy someone’s reputation, or your connection with them if they find out what you’ve said about them. In the end, it might ruin your reputation. Gossiping trains our mind to think bad about other people, to form opinions based on knowledge that is often incorrect or incomplete. It is often better to just ask someone if something you’ve heard is true. The rule I try to abide to is: I try to say the same to someone as I do about them.

6. Mulling things over

It is so easy to fill your head with senseless worrying or thinking things over and over again. What would happen if so and so? Does he/she like me and what about this or that action? All it does is drain your energy and mood, it gets you nowhere. My solution? To stop my head if I catch myself mulling or overthinking.

I was very prone to mulling when I was younger, but at one point I stopped doing so. Many people have asked me how I achieved that but I never know the answer. A few weeks ago, I was sick and I found that my head just kept mulling over girls. It completely drained me and I felt horrible as a result. This had to stop! So I decided to stop it. Every time my mind wondered off and started mulling, I stopped myself: ‘No, let this thought go’. For hours, this continued, until the mulling stopped.

5. Trying to solve everyone’s problems

You are not responsible for someone else’s problems. Nor are you responsible for solving them. Helping others is a good trait, but you shouldn’t overdo it. They may end up completely dependent of you if you keep solving their problems. Always ask people if they want to be helped. In the end, there are just too many problems for you to solve. Trying to solve all of them will completely drain you and keep you from solving your own problems. It’s a better solution to solve your own problems and help others to solve their own.

4. Complaining

Complaining is never a solution; it makes you passive, drains your energy and the problem seems larger. Instead, focus on solving the thing at hand. This will make you feel better, your life easier and help you trust yourself more. Is it something you cannot fix? Then the best thing to do is to try and accept it and focus your attention elsewhere. In either case, complaining is a complete waste of time.

3. Trying to make everybody like you

Everyone has a different taste. Some people like introverts, other like extraverts. Some people like really dominant persons, others like more laid back types. Either way, there is no way to cater for all of them. Some people will dislike you, some people will be indifferent about you and some will love you. The only thing you can do is choose what side you show. Do you show your deeper self, with all your desires and vulnerability? Or do you show a more toned down version, a genetic you? The result will be the same, some people will like you and some won’t. The more you show the real you, the more you will attract people that fit the real you.

2. Doing something you don’t like

In my optinion, this is one of the top ways to waste your time. You only have a limited amount of time and an even more limited amount of energy. Spending it doing something you dislike is a huge waste. It takes up your time and costs a lot of energy.

Give it a try: think of something that you really loathe. For instance the birthday of someone you don’t like and having to talk about uninteresting topics with people you don’t have a click with. Imagine spending your entire Saturday there, sitting on an uncomfortable chair. How does that make you feel?

Now, imagine doing something you love. For instance going rafting, going to a wonderful party at the beach, having the best sex in the universe. Now, how do you feel? Do you sense the difference?

Try and get rid of as many things you don’t like in your life as you can. Stop going to birthdays you are expected to be, but don’t want to be. Start looking for a profession you feel passionate about if you dislike your job. Stop going for walks because it’s supposed to be fun, but you don’t see it that way.

This will free up your energy and time to spend it on things you do like. In the beginning, you may not even know what things you like. I’ve been there. If that’s the case, just start giving things a try, find out if you like it or not. Knowing something is not for you is also a good thing to know ;). Life is really too short to waste it doing things you don’t like. Find out what you’re passionate about and make that part of your life!

1. Not going after your dreams

Many of us are too afraid to go after our dreams. Even if we do, we often give up after the first bump in the road. Honestly, that’s not trying, that’s just waiting for an excuse to give up.

Because we don’t dare to go after our dreams, the dreams we have are often very small. The two go hand in hand: if you are afraid to fail, you’ll keep your dreams on a leash. Admitting to yourself and others what you really want feels vulnerable; if you don’t succeed in making them come true, everyone can see that you’ve failed. And in that case, failing does matter, because you care about your big dreams. Right?

However, if you manage to overcome this fear and go out there and fully embrace the chance to fail, you free your mind to go after your biggest dreams. With failure, you learn and after having failed enough, you will succeed. In the end, that’s what it is about: the willingness to fail, to learn, to stand up and keep going, that’s how you learn to embrace life. Without this willingness, you were never truly alive. Just wasting your time until you die.

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