It’s Not a Waste of Time

14 February, 2021

It’s a waste of time

I’ve heard those words uttered so often in my life. Sometimes about what I wanted to do or was doing. Sometimes about what others wanted to do or were doing. And, to be honest, I’m sure I’ve said that more than a few times.

And they could be talking about anything. A hobby. A pursuit. A dream. Something you’re reading or watching.

Think about the people say that. They most likely are people who don’t understand the appeal of what you’re doing. They’re probably people who have fallen into the idle hands mindset (as in the devil makes work for ...). They’re probably people who believe that everything you do, everything you pursue needs to be practical.

Guess what? They’re wrong. Wrong about you. Wrong about what you’re doing. And they’re wrong to point it out.

Why? Because it’s your time. What you do with it is no one’s concern but your own. You can do with it what you will. If you enjoy doing something frivolous, if you’re enriched by something, then it’s not a waste of time.

Here’s an example: on and off for the last few months, I’ve been picking up my daughter’s acoustic guitar and learning some basic chords. I can strum maybe half a dozen of them. I definitely can’t quickly shift between them, and I know I’ll never be able to play a tune.

Some people have said I’m wasting my time. Why do that if you’re not going to learn to play the guitar properly? they’ve asked. The point is that I’m having fun. I’m using my brain and body in a slightly different way than I normally do, and the 15 minutes I take to pick up that guitar offer a nice break during the day.

Don’t jump on to the assembly line of productivity just for the sake of productivity. Don’t believe that everything you do needs to be practical or useful or serious. Don’t feel the need to get more done.

Instead, waste your time, as long as it doesn’t affect other aspects of your life. You may not be more productive, but your life will be a little more well rounded and a lot more fun.

Scott Nesbitt