Why is it that when you’re busiest, the mind wanders to all sorts of possibilities? I could be reading right now. I could be watching a film. I could be on a boat, exploring the world. But the moment the opportunity to do all those things appears, none of it seems as exciting anymore. The world stills and all the possibilities blur into one.
During these still days, I have done few of the excellent things I had planned to whilst writing my dissertation or moving houses. I have not finished reading all the books I own or completed all my mindfulness colouring books, I haven’t finished every film in the world, nor learnt every song on the ukulele.
Instead, I have found some very good ways to waste my precious free time.
1. Worry about the past
This one is my favourite. Reach back in your memory, as far as you like, and pick apart every single mistake you think you made. Think about what could have been if only you’d known better, how great it would be if you could have a do-over, or just settle into the misguided notion that the past was better than the future will ever be. It won’t be productive at all, but it’s great if you’re looking to become nice and grumpy.
2. Worry about the future
When you’re done living in the past, the next step is to start on the future. Basically, focus on anything but the present — the living, breathing moment you could be doing something fantastic. Instead of doing things that will bring you enjoyment or security in the future, just sit and worry about how things will turn out — that’ll achieve absolutely nothing.
3. Criticise yourself
In the same vein as the first option, turn the focus on yourself and wonder why you’re so painfully average. Everyone is off doing great things; only you’re stuck in one place. The world will move on while you’re still trying to find your footing, and that’s not good enough.
4. Feel down about the world
When you’ve wallowed on your faults long enough, think about the negative things going on in the world. There are enough to choose from. Instead of finding hope in the rising tide of good, or looking for ways you can help, just accept that the world is going downhill.
5. Just take a nap
This one is the most productive of all, as you’re at least giving your body and mind some rest. So be careful about using this too often, as you might end up being too productive, and we don’t want that. When everything else overwhelms you, though, this is a nice option to resort to.
What are some totally unproductive ways you waste your time, and are hoping to change? These are mine and from tomorrow, I’m determined that they will not get in my way.
Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
I’m blogging every day this month. Take a look at the introduction to the series here.