Wasting Time

- by Dianne Drake

I haven’t had time to read a book lately. In fact, it’s probably been a month or so since I last read anything other than what I write and, for me, that’s an awfully long time. So lately, I’ve been thinking about the management of my time, as in, there’s not enough of it, and why does it fly by so quickly? I’ve also been wondering if there’s some kind of New Year’s resolution I could make that would improve the way I spend my time.

So, I have this friend who reads Tarot cards. I’m not saying that I believe in them. They’re interesting, probably open to all kinds of interpretations. But I like to claim that I’m open-minded, even if I really don’t know if what’s in my cards holds any merit or not. The thing is, the very first card he turned up tells me I’m wasting time. Me, wasting time? Not a chance, I tell him.

I run a small family business that employs about a dozen people, I write, I do the domestics (although not as much as I should), I’m involved in the lives of my family. Where, in that, am I wasting time? I challenged my friend to find the answer to that in his cards, and all he told me was that I was the only one who could really know the answer.

It took me two days of semi-indignation before I really started to apply some logical thinking to the subject because, truth is, I’d really like to find a little more time in my day. And if those cards did know something I didn’t…

Anyway, I stepped back, took a good, hard look at what I do any given day, and why it keeps me so busy. Doing this, I was fully aware that the circumstances of my life aren’t going to change. It is what it is and no matter how many different ways I look at things, I still have a business to run, books to write, domestics to cope with, lives to be involved with. These things, in a large part, define who I am. But I don’t involve myself with them every hour of the day.

Or at least, I try not to. So, where is this wasted time, if not in my ordinary routine? Other than reducing my normal sleep time from four hours down to three, I still couldn’t find it. Yet those darn cards said I’m wasting time.

Then it dawned on me, that it’s not the actual minutes of the hour or the hours of the day I’m wasting. It’s putting off the things I want to do, some new directions I want to take, different books I want to write, as well as read. My husband and I planned a quick trip this past weekend to go to a quaint little town in southern Indiana, spend the night, have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants then look at Christmas lights. Then, at the last minute I decided we had too many things to do, work that couldn’t wait, that we couldn’t go. So, we didn’t.

Now, it’s Monday morning, and yes, we got a couple of things accomplished towards the business, but we didn’t see the lights, like we didn’t get to see them last year or the year before for the very same reason. Too busy.

When I started to think about how I waste time I realized that spending two days away with my husband, doing something completely off the regular routine, wasn’t wasting time. Cancelling that opportunity was, though. In my life, the time I waste are the opportunities I miss.  Once they’re gone you can’t get them back.  Maybe next year I’ll get to take that weekend with my husband and enjoy the lights.  Sadly, I won’t have fond memories of doing that this year.  Wasted time.

Time’s precious. There really isn’t enough of it. And we’re all guilty of putting off so many things we want to do… taking those new directions, reading or writing a different kind of book. I think about my mother a lot at this time of the year. She was an amazing woman…a concert pianist with so much talent. Yet, my mother wasted so much of her life never stepping outside her routines to do those things she wanted to do. Her list was full of somedays, but never anything on it for today. Sadly, she never made it to someday.

So today, I have a full schedule. As I write this, it’s going on to 10 in the morning, and I’ve already been up working 5 hours, and I know I have at least another 10 hours ahead of me, all of it scheduled. But I downloaded a book on my Kindle this morning, and it would be such a waste if I didn’t read it. So, that’s what I’m going to do for the next two hours. And no, in my busy schedule that’s not wasting time. Putting off reading it would be the waste.

No matter if it’s climbing a mountain, taking a boat ride down the river or reading a book, make a New Year’s resolution to treat yourself soon to something you’ve been putting off because if you don’t, you really are wasting precious time, whether or not it’s written in your cards.

Benjamin Franklin once said: “If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.”

From my family to yours, have the best holiday season ever!

One comments

  1. Thank you for the wonderful post, Dianne. There really is a great difference between wasting time and wasting an opportunity. I read several books at a time. Paperbacks for the bathtub, hardcovers downstairs. I love to read with the TV on in the background for company, and can’t imagine just sitting there staring at the screen. I hope you love your Kindle and the ease of taking a book with you.