The power of wasting time

wasting time The power of wasting timeWhat sort of week have you had?  If you’re anything like me, this week has shot past at a hundred miles an hour, leaving you wondering where the time has gone, and what the heck you’ve managed to achieve.

We live in stressful times, and hours and minutes can sometimes be more valuable to us than money or possessions.  It’s the one thing you can’t buy, and time is becoming more precious to us as we get busier and our lives fill up. E-mail, mobile phones and online messaging mean that we are on call at all hours, whereas a few years ago we knew that we could hide away indoors and not have to speak to anyone if someone needed us to do some work out of hours!

Claiming back our precious time

Anyone who has gone through parenthood understands that there comes a point in life where everything becomes completely hectic.  We lose sleep, lose patience, and often lose our personalities in the effort to keep achieving under immense pressure.

Similarly, working had puts us through the same thing.  We spend our whole day trying to catch up with an ever-increasing things to do list, leaving us burned out at the end of the shift.  When we get home, we immediately start playing catch-up, by making sure we are up to date with all our e-mails and letters, and phoning people who we haven’t been in touch with for a while.   This constant activity and stress is not great for us, as human beings.  We need to appreciate the beauty of being completely idle once in a while.

When was the last time you pressed the pause button and simply did…nothing?

I’m not talking here about taking a bath, or watching television.  I’m talking about deliberately, deliciously wasting precious time.  Most of us feel so guilty about this that it’s like wasting water in the middle of a drought.  We feel as if the hosepipe is on full blast, and something precious is slipping down the drain!

I don’t know about you, but when I get some free time I immediately start to plot how I’m going to fill it.  Someone cancels an appointment with me, and I right away think ‘Oh, great. I’ll clean up the yard’, or ‘fantastic.  That gives me longer to clean the house’, I very rarely think….nothing!

I propose that we all step back and deliberately waste some time.  Stare out of the window thinking of nothing, for pleasure.  Wander about in a daze daydreaming.  Make a coffee and flop on to the floor just because you can.  Smell some flowers, admire a painting, but whatever you do, don’t do something constructive.

I dare you to try it!  Be careful, though – once you get a taste for moments of idleness, it could be addictive!

Let me know how this works for you!

May you always find your happines,


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  1. Debbie, this has been a problem for me the last few weeks because of a major writing job I accepted and had to complete on schedule.

    I finally took most of yesterday off, doing exactly what I wanted. Felt great!

    • Glad you did that, really makes one feel better. I while back we went through some really rainy day. One rainy Saturday my hubby and me said heck with it all and sat and watched movies for 6 hours. It was sure nice. I think we all forget to do this more often.
      Thanks John and have a very happy day and evening.

  2. Corinne Edwards

    Oh, Debbie –

    I love this one. I love to do nothing.

    But then the guilt sets in.

    Now write about how we feel we have to be productive in order to justify our being on the planet.

    • Great idea Corinne and I do have the answer for that, “how we feel we have to be productive in order to justify our being on the planet.”
      I shall let you know when I have that written up. It is a simple answer I think you will enjoy.
      You have a very happy day,

  3. PS

    Don’t forget to talk about the inventory we take every night to prove it.


    .-= Corinne Edwards´s last blog ..INTERNET VIDEO – 101 – and a few wild ideas =-.

  4. Hi Debbie,

    As always you give really top advice. I am sure the over use of technology has made us sometimes less productive, distractions and no brain down time. I agree this is essential, some times easier to read about than implement. But recently on holiday, I just took a rest, read a book, slept in the afternoon and have never felt better. priceless time.
    .-= Lance Nelson´s last blog ..Bansko Jazz Festival Programme 2010- The Doctor Reveals All =-.

    • Hi Lance,
      Glad to hear that you had a great holiday and got the much needed rest I am sure you deserved. It can be priceless as you say.
      Sometimes I have to remember to take my own advice. Did it on a rainy day a while back and it really felt great.
      To your happiness and taking some time for yourself.

  5. Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny

    This weekend I sat on my balcony and stared at my potted plants and allowed myself to relax. Until I noticed some cracks and splits that need to be filled in…lol!

    It’s nearly impossible to sit still, but I’m willing to “work” on it. haha!
    .-= Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny´s last blog ..Sarah Goodlaxson Female MMA Fighter =-.

    • Hi sweet funny girl,

      I can just picture you sitting there and getting up, because you see something that needs done. I know I catch myself doing this. I don’t feel there is anything really wrong with that as long as we don’t get carried away with the task at hand. Don’t feel alone on the working on it, it something we all have to do at times.
      You have a very wonderful happy day and take at least 10 minutes or maybe 15 just for yourself. Thanks Cheryl

  6. Michelle Vandepas says:

    I love love love my work, that even when I’m not working, relaxing, I’m plotting, thinking, scheming and wondering. It takes me about 3 – 4 hours to wind down. I’m headed to the mountains this weekend – so I’ll be relaxing – .. bike riding, hiking, dancing, does that count as nothing?
    .-= Michelle Vandepas´s last blog ..Voting Party for Michelle on OWN =-.

    • Hi Michelle,

      You bet bike riding, hiking, and dancing count. If it is relaxing to you and your having fun you go for it. I always take a few hours in the evening to wind down.
      Have a wonderful weekend and 4th of July. Enjoy those mountain with all that nature has to offer up there. It is beautiful.

  7. I find it hard to do ‘nothing’. I do lots of other things other than work to help me relax – like dancing, gym work, reading…but that’s not doing nothing, is it?

    .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Blogging Guide- More FeedBack On Our Free Guide =-.

    • Hi Andrew,

      What is relaxing to one person may not be relaxing to another person. You relax by dancing, gym work or reading. The key is to take your mind off of working. Relaxing is having fun at what you are doing and keeping a balance in your life. Let’s face it if you are doing the same thing 24/7 that is not relaxing and letting go. Andrew you are relaxing, because you have fun when you take time away from work. By all means keep up the dancing, gym work and reading, sounds like it works for you in the relaxing field.

      Have fun dancing the night away, (fun is what relaxing is all about).

  8. I can’t remember the last time I did nothing! I certainly try and relax and enjoy myself but doing nothing? I might have to try it! Later though, when I’ve finished what I need to do…
    .-= Joel´s last blog ..The Wider Picture Of Blogging =-.

    • Hi Joel,

      Andrew says he dances, gym work and reads. Do you do any of that? Like I told him relaxing is different for all people. Even taking a nice shower can be relaxing. Just do me a favor and don’t work 24/7, that just wouldn’t be good. Thanks for your comment and you take care. I can tell by your picture you are happy, so you have to be doing something right. Great smile

      • I do lots of things to relax, exercising, watching TV, reading, working in the garden. But rarely do nothing and I see the value of that! I’ll try to smile more, thanks!
        .-= Joel´s last blog ..The Wider Picture Of Blogging =-.

        • See you know how to relax. Good for you. I bet you smile more then you realize.
          Have a happy evening and you did put a smile on my face. Thank you

  9. Absolutely Beautiful, Debbie!

    Meditation, self-hypnosis, and relaxation could all be described as systemized methods of doing nothing.

    A powerful test to see just how over stressed a person is: have them sit in a comfortable place, stare at a blank wall, and do nothing for 5 minutes… many people can’t do it!

    Peacefulness and loving life have taken a back seat to ‘getting stuff done’ in our society. The challenge with this is… if it lacks joy and peace, what path is all this ‘getting stuff done’ leading us down?

    keep smiling,

    .-= Benjamin´s last blog ..Podcast – Intro to Stress Reduction =-.

    • I like that Ben. I shall try sitting for 5minutes and doing nothing, just so I know that I can. Just for a little humor can I sit there and thing about what I should be doing or what I am going to do when the 5 minutes are up? As you say, “Peacefulness and loving life have taken a back seat” Please read my post for tomorrow. I will be talking about the society stuff.
      Thanks Ben and the meditation and self-hypnosis is definitely part of the relaxation.
      May happiness always be there for you,

      • Thanks again, Debbie!
        .-= Benjamin@Online Free Self Hypnosis´s last blog ..Podcast – Intro to Stress Reduction =-.

  10. Hi Debbie, as always, most precious advice for anyone wishing to live not just a long life, but a healthy and good life, too. So many people don’t even stop long enough or don’t slow down enough to notice what we’re saying when we say “recreation.” So the human doings who we are, we even “do” recreation … lol … I should know, because for a large part of my life, I was among the many people who don’t even stop … so I’m glad I stopped to submit this comment. It makes me stop and reflect on recreation.
    .-= Beat Schindler´s last blog ..Where Americans Are Moving =-.

    • Hi Beat,

      Recreation is a good word to use for relaxing. We do have a habit of forgetting to relax with fun recreation. I really believe the reason people are trying to find the happy side of life is because they keep themselves so busy with being productive.
      Glad to here you have slowed down and enjoying life.
      You have a wonderful day, and thank you,

  11. Sometimes there is no greater happiness than doing absolutely nothing! We all need to calm down and take time out to remember why we are alive, and get back to the things that make us feel good in life. Great post, Debbie! I’m off to sit in the garden for a while :-)
    .-= jen @ York Hypnotherapy´s last blog ..Achieving goals could be easier for you than the England team… =-.

    • Can i come a sit in your garden with you. Sounds wonderful! I love the words that I am receiving from people when it comes to relaxing. As you say calm down, take time out, others say recreation. There are many ways to relax or have fun, we do have to slow down and take advantage of them.
      thanks Jen and you have a wonderful, happy afternoon and evening across the pond.

  12. Moment of idleness? I just had it and it’s nice and sweet. You’re right. It’s very addictive. LOL
    .-= Raymond Chua´s last blog ..Attracting Wealth With the Law of Attraction =-.

    • Glad to hear it Raymond! It is sweet and nice. You have a wonderful day now and thanks for letting me know you are renewed.

  13. Hey, I get the message, change gears, slow down, but for me time is precious and I want to wear out not rust. I will sleep, stop and do nothing when there is 6 feet of dirt on my face. I want to do something. Play with my grand kids, swim, walk, dance or make love – but not nothing. I do try to slow down to the speed of people I love so I can hear them but then I am doing something. I guess it has to be what ever works for you. For me it is doing, I love it.
    .-= Bruce´s last blog ..A Breast Lump in Your Breast-Tips on what You do =-.

    • Hi Bruce,

      Like I said with Andrew comment. Relaxing can be different for different people and it sounds to me like you are finding time for those fun relaxing things. “Play with my grand kids, swim, walk, dance or make love” are pretty relaxing things to do. Now don’t you have to admit also when you are taking a shower you are doing something, but it is pretty relaxing. The key to relaxing is not working for productive at all times. When playing with grand kids all you are doing is having fun. This is what is important. Work can be fun, but at the same time if we only do one thing and never take a break from it we risk burnout.

      Keep up the fun things Bruce and thanks

  14. Debbie, this is so true! I took a serious nap after getting completely unmotivated two weekends ago. In the words of my beloved great aunt, I didn’t “have the ambition of a flea”. So I went with it. Heavenly!

    And when I was finished doing nothing, I was ready to do something again.
    .-= Amy LeForge´s last blog ..How To Be Happy- Part One =-.

    • Hi Amy,
      Don’t you love it when it works out that way. I am going to have to remember that quote from your great Aunt. “have the ambition of a flea”, that is a good one.
      With the boys in your house I bet you can use a nap once in a while.
      Thanks for sharing Amy and have a wonderful day,

  15. Eat Smart Age Smart says:

    Hmmmm, the pause button is such a great thing!

    Taking time to “far niente” do nothing is sooooooooooo important because we seem to be running on empty.

    .-= Eat Smart Age Smart´s last blog ..New England Soup Factory Cookbook More Than 100 Recipes from the Nations Best Purveyor of Fine Soup =-.

    • Hi Krizia,

      I think I shall get a button to pin on my shirt, so I can press it every time I need to pause when running on empty. That would be a good reminder don’t you think?

  16. Debbie,

    This is so true. We need down time. We need to really rest in a way that rejuvenates us. I think one of the best ways to make time for relaxing, recreating and recharging our batteries is to find a Sabbath, whether it’s a day of the week or a few hours, doing nothing or something we don’t do when we’re busy. Judaism has that right, that we should remember the Sabbath, though I think the literal meaning just doesn’t fit into today’s world. We just don’t have 24 hours to rest each week, sun down Friday to sun down Saturday would be a such a luxury.

    I absolutely love spending time at a book store just browsing. I can do it for hours and it accomplishes very little to nothing at all. The most I do is either buy a book or make a list of the books I want to check out from the library. I also love to read and with my somewhat flexible schedule I can make time for reading and just sitting and thinking about what I’ve read. I also take a little time each night to think about the news of the day and what I read before I go to sleep. I usually read graphic novels (comic books) before going to sleep. They take your mind off everything else.

    .-= Sherri–Hurricane Katrina Pictures´s last blog ..Why Wetlands Are So Important =-.

    • Dear Sherri,

      Sounds like you do a great job of relaxing. that is wonderful Sherri. You deserve it with all the hard work you put in. I like the idea of graphic novels (comic books).

  17. Debbie
    I’ve just returned from holiday in Egypt where it was very hot. We spent most of our days by the beach or pool – doing nothing! I also managed to read a few books, which I seldom “have time for” normally.
    I’ve returned keen to have gaps in my week to keep “doing nothing” on a regular basis!
    .-= David Rogers´s last blog ..Learn to Network =-.

    • Hi David,

      Sound wonderful. Once we get the hang of wasting a little time now and then we find it really does help us with the happiness.
      May happiness always find you David.

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