Recently a friend of mine sent me an email with an interesting attachment. The attachment was a screenshot of a portion of an excel document.
The screenshot went something like this:
Sunday:3.5+1.5hours: Wasted Time| chapel| Chinese| Wasted Time| Wasted Time| History| Wasted Time| Biology
My friend, who i’ll call George, told me that the screenshot he had sent me was a record of his day ( Which happened to be Sunday). George was unsatisfied with how his had gone. He complained of excessive ‘Wasted Time’. George and I went on discussing the topic of wasted time for quite a while, and we eventually came to consensus.
Wasted time is an interesting concept, as it relies on the subject doing something which he considers wasting his time.
Before digging too deep into the previous statement ( I’ll let that marinate in your head for a couple of lines) I would like to analyse the different types of situations where an individual might consider his time wasted or that something ‘is’ a waste of time.
There are two leading circumstances when someone might encounter the words ‘Wasted Time’; from a third party ( A friend, acquaintance) or from the self. As in, a realization of wasted time.
The first one may be encountered when a ‘friend’ or ‘acquaintance’ considers that your time has been, in effect, wasted. Even though you might not take his saying into consideration, he certainly believes you should. That person clearly sees no value in the activity you have undertaken, he considers it ‘Wasted Time’. In that instance, that wasted time did not originate from the self, but rather from a third party which considers your time squandered.
The second one, the one that originates from the self, may be encountered after an activity has been undertaken. At that point, the individual realizes that time has been wasted. But there are two circumstances where an invidual might come to such a realization.
A: When wasted time is expected
The first circumstance is a little bit irrational. The individual often fully aware of the imminent ‘wasted time realizaton’ but carries on with the activity regardless. Such events include doing an activity that was done before, such as playing a video game that was previously not enjoyed, but still playing the video game. Another example of this is procrastination (although this is a touchy subject), where an individual purposefuly delays work to engage in another, often less important activity. This sort of ‘wasted time’ is often considered to be the person’s fault, as she was well aware of the impending realization, which turns out to be a recurring one.
B: When wasted time is not expected
Probably the only time when wasted time is not thought to be the individual’s fault is when it is not expected. Or at least, that is not the initial feeling. Examples of this include reading a new book, watching a movie, or first experiences. You cannot really be sure if a book will be time that has been wasted until you actually finish it (although quitting halfway through it is always a possibility). First experiences, such as playing a board game for the first time, are hard to preempt, and it is always difficult to tell if time is actually being wasted.
For the times when wasted time is expected, it is hard to blame the individual for his loss of time. On the other hand, when wasted time is expected, we can only wonder why the individual, well, wasted his time.
Having taken that into consideration, ‘wasted time’ is a very subjective matter. You try a board game, you don’t enjoy it, but why think of it as time which has been wasted? It is, on the other hand, a life lesson.