Time carries so much weight in our world. Because it’s precious. Because it’s a made up measurement of experience. Because it’s elusive. Because it’s not renewable. And thus, we’re all really hard on ourselves for wasting time. I literally did nothing today. Or, I just watched four straight hours of documentaries on Netflix. Or, I spent all afternoon not doing anything I was supposed to be doing.
I’ve felt it. I’ve done it. Recently, I found myself nearing a big fat deadline. Every hour that I wasn’t working on it was an hour closer to the most major writing deadline of my career (so far). It was looming. I was freaking. Instead of working on the thing I needed, badly, to be working on… I was doodling in my journal about a make believe world of fairy godmothers. As I went to this faraway world, I laughed at how completely I was wasting my own time.
But what if the wasting is necessary? I know I know, maybe that sixth hour of Netflix wasn’t exactly required, but I believe fully that the action of doing things, even the ones that seem like they’re a waste, end up moving us somehow.
You cannot be working on your dreams every second of every day. You cannot. You cannot be working on your goals every second of every day. You cannot. Your brain, your energy, your creativity, they all need retreat. They need a rest.
What if all the things you’ve been doing that “waste time” were informing your subconscious of the things you’ll go on to create, and to be, and to expand? What if wasted time wasn’t wasteful, but rather the important inactions that help support the purposeful ones?
I’ll tell you that in journaling my fairy godmother world, I was simply building up momentum by doing something that didn’t matter until I was energetically ready to do the thing that mattered — the real writing for that nearing deadline.
And that’s how we should analyze our time. Not wasted and unwanted. But rather what is irrelevant and what’s not. Because even the time we spend doing things that don’t matter supports us in some way for the things that do. Relaxing helps us work. Retreating helps us go to battle later. Learning something new supports what we already know. Being present with people we love will inform the work we want to create.
So let yourself get off track. Let yourself waste time. And instead of judging it and being bothered that you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing, just sink into the goodness. Be present, and let the things you feel like you should be doing with your time matter only when you’re ready to tackle them, and not a second earlier.