I’m busy. We’re all busy. With an infant, every extra sliver of time is packed with to-dos and trying to get poop stains out of things. Yet, somehow like a crazy magician, even though I don’t have any extra time, I’ve still managed to successfully waste a lot of the precious time I never had to begin with.
I’m like David Blaine — I make time appear just so I can waste it. Here’s five things I’m guilty of wasting hours on (and you probably are too).
1. Watching reality TV
Q: How many shows about little people can one woman become addicted to?
A: More than should be humanly possible.
As I lay my baby down for the evening, the clock starts to get my writing done before my brain stops like a car running out of gas on the highway. As I walk into the living room towards my office, however, I stop cold.
A voice inside me says: But wait, don’t you have a Little Women: New York on the DVR? The writing can wait. Watching little people get drunk and swear at each other is the only thing that matters!
To my husband’s dismay, he discovered that I wasn’t just hooked on one reality show about little people, I was hooked on all of the shows — and there’s a lot of them. I just thought of five and I’m not even trying. It was when he saw the documentary about the smallest woman in the world also on our DVR that he looked at me like I had a third boob on my face.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” I whispered.
2. Reading the comment sections
Q: How do you know you’re a masochist?
A: When you’ve caught yourself on hour three of reading comments on a controversial article.
It’s like willingly entering the bowels of an insane asylum watching people like Hannibal Lecter argue about vaccines. I was rubber-necking, like when I drive by a traffic accident, except every comment was its own disaster and I just sat there watching it all scroll by, along with my life. And integrity.
Yet, I find myself doing this all the time. Why can’t I just enjoy an article and move on? Why must I tempt myself into a depression by watching strangers abuse each other in the comments? Who has time for that? Who cares? Why am I here? Someone help me!
3. Taking a selfie
Q: Are taking selfies as easy and painless as snapping a picture of yourself with your camera?
A: No, this isn’t some joke. There’s lighting, flattering angles, and my double chin to contend with.
Let’s pretend I have a good reason to take a selfie in the first place because most of the time, I don’t. But let’s say I do.
First, am I wearing makeup? I have an infant, so no. Time to put on makeup.
Next, lighting. Is the natural light in front of me or behind me? Behind? Rookie mistake, fix that, turn it around.
Next, smile. Whoa, not like a crazed murderer, let’s try that again. What the heck, do I have a lazy eye? Delete. Try it again. Eh, looks like I’m trying too hard.
Don’t look at the camera this time, make it seem like someone else captured a sweet moment of me looking thoughtfully in the distance and I’m not alone in my room taking selfies. Not bad.
Maybe I’ll purse my lips to the side like I’m coy and playful. OK, that’s a weird blend of coy and duck lips, let’s try that again. Hmm, not bad. Could be better.
Let’s try my “good side” because I definitely have a good and bad side, but I always forget which is which. OK, not bad! Not bad at all. Now, filters …
Needless to say, I don’t have time for that crap. But I make time, reasons still unknown.
4. Texting when we should be calling
Q: Remember when we used to actually talk to each other on the phone?
A: I don’t, that was like four years ago!
Texting is supposed to be a convenience for small statements or questions like, “I’m on my way,” or “When will you be home?” But for some reason, I like to use it for all conversation, because talking on the phone has become completely unacceptable. I’ve texted in an hour long conversation that would have taken one minute to discuss on the phone — it’s a sickness.
Yet, I do it time and time again. Maybe it’s because a phone conversation requires my direct attention and I’ve grown accustomed to giving multiple things my indirect attention. Or, perhaps I’ve tricked myself into thinking that texting for three hours saves me five precious minutes. Obviously I’m not gifted at math.
5. Arguing about vaccinations or politics on Facebook
Q: Has anyone ever changed their mind while engaging in a heated Facebook thread about vaccines or politics on Facebook?
A: The answer is no, never. Not once.
Why? Because the other person isn’t investigating your claims or reading your linked articles supporting your point. They aren’t having an epiphany as you insult their intelligence or question their morality. They’re basically just waiting for you to be done so they can give you their links and question your morality. It’s a never-ending pit of doom until someone’s iPhone battery dies. Or they die, whatever comes first.
Yet sometimes I jump in because I just can’t help myself. One time I found myself arguing a certain policy passed through Congress. My friend and I were doing a great job of ignoring each other’s points so we could gleefully make our own when one of his friends jumped in with an encyclopedia of political talking points in an attempt to school me. I responded with tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) and then continued on crushin’ it with my smarts and logic.
Did I mention I have a book I’m writing that has actual deadlines? And that I don’t have time to meet said deadlines?
The truth is, a lot of my most egregious time-wasting activities are really just compensating for something I need that’s missing. My life can become so busy, so down-to-the-minute that it’s as if my subconscious forces me to zone out on something useless just so my conscious self can catch its breath.
For me, the solution is to pump the brakes. Focus on connection, not connecting. Focus on zoning in on the people who matter most and not zoning out on what doesn’t.
But then again, maybe sometimes we just need to waste our time on trashy TV. Or sending our friend the emoticon of the two girls ice skating while adding poofs behind them to make it seem like they’re farting. Or reading articles on Babble about wasting time.
Whatever’s your poison, I won’t judge. Honestly, I don’t have the time.More On