Sitting at the end of the day, wasting time

Hi and welcome to my little tutorial on a topic on which I am an expert: Time Wasting.

I’m happy to explain the concept of wasting time to you, but before I begin, let me tell you a little about my credentials. I’ve studied the art of wasting time, at TAFE and university level. My highest qualification so far is a Graduate Certificate in Time Wasting, but I am considering doing a PHD in the subject. In my undergraduate studies, I majored in a specific unit called “Time Wasting Delusion Disorder”, (TWDD) which is the study of the state of mind of a particular kind of time waster, who often ends up suffering from what’s known as “Chronic Time Frustration”. We will go into that in a moment.

I feel that I’m well qualified to tutor you in this topic. Since finishing my university studies, I have diligently kept up my time wasting practice, pretty much daily. I manage to fit this around my paid work, and sometimes even fit a little bit in during my paid work, although unlike some types of time wasters, I generally keep my time wasting separate to my paid work. This means that I fit the profile of the average TWDD sufferer, who is generally a fairly conscientious person, both in work and outside of it, and actually abhors the idea of wasting time.

Why does someone who is conscientious waste time?– I hear you ask.  A very good question. Let’s take a look at the profile of the TWDD sufferer.

It seems that some poor sods are cursed with a sense that every moment they are doing something (other than sleeping), the thing that they are doing should be useful and somehow enhance their life or the lives of others. Not in a huge, life-changing way (that would be a ridiculous pressure every moment of the day) but just in a small way, which can include relaxing and socialising, as long as you are not wasting time by socialising with people you don’t actually like, or relaxing in ways that will make your brain more stupid.

For example, the sufferer of TWDD reasons that reading a novel is a more useful activity than watching an episode of Funniest Home Videos. Why? Well, because we all know that reading is a smarter activity than watching tv. It is more active, utilises your imagination, increases your vocabulary, and gives you material to write a blog post about the book, in which you can sound literary-minded and intelligent. On the whole, it is more stimulating to the synapses than watching other people’s cats fall into toilets.

Synapse

A synapse undergoing stimulation as its owner reads a hardback, First Edition copy of Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust, translated into Indonesian by an Arabian candle-seller.

It’s kind of like being lumped with a Protestant Work Ethic, without being a Protestant. However, possibly unlike the stereotypical Protestant, the TWDD Sufferer finds it soul-destroying to work in mind-numbingly boring jobs, for example at banks or in retail, and are happiest if their employment feels fulfilling and meaningful. It’s even better if it’s also lucidcrously busy. That way, between all the reward of it being meaningful, and the stress of being continually busy, they are highly motivated at work not to stop and waste time.

Outside of paid employment the TWDD sufferer likes to feel everything they do has a useful purpose. This is the kind of person who doesn’t watch much TV unless the program is either informative and educational or they consider the writing to be admirably good, whether it’s comedy or drama. I’ve mentioned their thoughts on “Funniest Home Videos,” but you probably also won’t find this person watching “X-factor” or “Border Security”.  No, they will instead be reading or doing something “useful” with their time upstairs on their laptop.

The delusional disorder comes in to play at this point. There is often a great disparity between the TWDD sufferer’s vague intentions, and what, in reality, pans out. Say, for example, the poor TWDD sufferer has vague intentions that in any of her spare time, she will write. This particular TWDD sufferer believes writing, like reading, to be a useful and beneficial occupation for her brain, with all the benefits of being an activity that is enjoyable and educational, as you would know, dear reader.  If you aim to write, then imagination, vocabulary, insight, interest – all of these words and more are required.

Let’s take, just for example, a case where our TWDD sufferer has a 4 day weekend. She thinks to herself that this is heaven! It’s enough time to do

a. household chores

b.work for her second job that always needs something done at home on the weekend

c. spending time with family and friends, and

d. writing

Why, with that much time she may not only write 1, or 2 blog posts, but even start an essay or story to send out to a literary magazine, something she hasn’t made time to do for over a year! She has a vaguely held desire that eventually she will start sending out so many pieces of writing that she will have become a freelance writer, able to write all day long for payment. This plan has to begin somewhere, thus the vague hope, each weekend or holiday, to write something  worth sending off.

Skip to day 4 of the 4 day weekend.

Our TWDD sufferer has: eaten out, wandered up Chapel Street, been to 2 movies with partner and/or child, been out for drinks, done the grocery shopping, washed cat vomit off the doona cover, washed loads of dishes and laundry, pegged out said loads of laundry and brought them back in again, helped her daughter select a photo to enter into a competition and heard her read her book presentation for school, done some work for her second job, and stripped the sheets off the bed. All useful and necessary things, some of which were also very enjoyable, and others which were not. (No thanks to the cat.)

She has also: on a sudden whim, spent nearly a whole day spring cleaning her daughter’s room and then the storage space upstairs, throwing out lots of old odds and ends, and taking a huge bag of old toys to the Opportunity Shop. Read posts on Facebook and Twitter. Read other people’s blogs. Read sections of the book she is currently reading. Watched an old episode of Get Smart. Suddenly on a whim, spent time filing photos saved on her laptop. Tried a few times to start a new post and not written anything that held her interest.

Suddenly it’s 5pm on day 4 and tomorrow she’ll be back at work. Some of these things were not really so necessary, and some, although useful, could be said to have been time wasting, in view of the goal, which was to really spend some serious time writing.

Synapse

A diagram showing the level of stimulation of a synapse as its owner washes cat vomit off the doona cover.

Now, students, what happens to our TWDD sufferer when this occurs? How closely were you listening? That’s right – well done, up the back! Chronic Time Frustration kicks in, whereby she feels a huge sense of frustration that there is never enough time. She believes that she does not have enough time in her busy life to get even a blog post written, let alone the essay or story that she just knows she could write if she had time. She becomes grumpy and snaps at people, because the day is coming to an end, dinner needs to be made, and somewhere inside her there is a brilliant post that she wanted to write and hasn’t. Or an essay that she could have drafted, that might have eventually led to something being published. That might have eventually led to a change in career. That might have led to being able to write every day, and not just in contracts for clients. But she hasn’t achieved any of that because she wasted her time and didn’t write anything at all.

Of course, dear reader, the above is just a fictional example. As you can see, I am not the poor pathetic Time Waster that I used to illustrate my point, because I have managed to write a post, and it’s only…..oh crap, it’s 5.25pm and I need to make dinner. Excuse me.

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9 Comments

  1. Ha, love it. Would be me to a T… if I weren’t so lazy.

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    • Yes, all that moving at quantum speed and wave-like behaviour can be very tiring, I imagine.

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    • Ooops, I just realised that you commented on a different post than the one most people are commenting on! Sorry, it’s a bit overwhelming and hard to take in the finer details when you’ve just been Freshly Pressed! That does make more sense with your comment now though 😉 Glad you liked my effort to write a post about almost not managing to write a post – intending-to-write-a-post-but-not-writing-a-post is a daily activity of mine!

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  2. Just change writing by sewing, and then BAM! This is me…. We are all filled with good intentions… Lol!

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  3. Uni students ‘procrastinate’ and my student days were probably the only time I used the word ‘procrastinate’ to describe my non productive activity. Children ‘play’, uni students
    ‘procrastinate’ and adults are ‘unmotivated’ or merely ‘lazy’.

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  4. Oh so true. I have this exact disorder. I’m glad for someone who can turn it to laughs for all out benefit.

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  5. I think this post is awesome! 🙂

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    • Thanks! It’s great when you can get a post out of not writing anything, isn’t it? I see you’ve changed identities and blog names – good luck with the new version!

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  1. Sitting at the end of the day, wasting time « It keeps me wondering | Tammy Rizzo's Blog

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