Wasted day or wasted thinking?

What constitutes a wasted day?

How do you define it? How do I define it? I don’t know how I define a wasted day, but I know I feel like I’m wasting a day every time I am tired in the middle of a weekend afternoon or want to take a nap when I get home from work.

How can I be wasting a day when I don’t even know how I define a waste?

Here is how my dictionary defines the word “wasted”.

Adjective: wasted
1. Serving no useful purpose; having no excuse for being
2. Not used to good advantage

What makes me feel like I’m wasting a day? Looking around and seeing all the things I haven’t accomplished and thus feeling like I am not making the best use of my time. Oh, hello dictionary definition number two, “Not used to good advantage.”

So, let’s take a minute to look at all the things I haven’t accomplished. Wait. Why? Why is the natural tendency to look negatively at the things we haven’t accomplished instead of positively at the things we have accomplished?

It’s so easy to get caught up in your ever-growing to do list, it’s hard to remember to stop and look back at all the “completed” boxes you’ve checked off.

In the last couple of weeks I have accomplished the following:

1. Changed my schedule at work, which I love, but a major change to my sleep/wake times is a big adjustment for my body.

2. Made progress on my “simplifying my life and possessions” project which may or may not ever get a post on this blog.

3. Painted my bedroom.

4. Replaced the temporary shades on my sliding glass door by hanging two sets of cellular blinds.

5. Analyzed how I use my phone and worked on reorganizing my home screens and apps to take better advantage of all my phone has to offer me.

6. Found a really great “to do” app that is helping me to not forget to do things without having to repeat them over in my head or write them on scraps of paper.

7. Watched a lot of really great youth baseball tournament games.

8. Had lots of great lunches with friends and family.

9. Watched three movies.

10. NAPPED.

And I managed to accomplish all these things while still handling everything that every day life has managed to throw at me on a daily basis.

There are ten unwritten blog posts lurking in that list of things I have accomplished. There’s another unfinished task…I haven’t written any of those blog posts. Wait. Stop! Did we not just go over this? Focus. On. The. Accomplishments.

So, what about not making the best use of my time?

Do I spend 30 seconds each time I fill the ice cube tray determining which ice cube slot has the crack in it, so I don’t fill that one, to keep it from dripping into the ice cube bin and forming all the cubes into one giant iceberg, instead of taking 30 seconds ONCE to wash out the new, not-cracked ice cube tray sitting right on the counter? Yes. I’ve been doing that for a couple weeks. Is that the best use of my time? No. Clearly that’s just stupid.

That’s not where I was initially headed with this section of the post. Let’s try that again.

Do I desperately want a working shower in this house? Yes. Does my shower still look exactly as it did in May when I first took a rubber mallet and a scraper to the tile? Yes. One wall scraped off and nothing since then. Do I get irritated each time I walk into the bathroom and see the debris and think I need to work on this? Yes. Does a working shower seem important when I pick up a box of photos I haven’t looked at in years? No.

Could I have gotten this post written faster and gotten on my way to the grocery store sooner if I hadn’t gotten up from my desk 20 times to stand in front of the screen door and enjoy the breeze? Yes. Was it worth it to watch the leaves blow and feel the warm breeze on my face? Absolutely.

What’s the best use of your time is relative at any one moment.

Is every clothes basket I own full of clean laundry in various states of foldedness and sitting in the hall or a doorway so I have to move it out of the way every time I walk by? Yes. Am I super stoked just to have remembered to wash this stuff at all before I ran out of clean towels and socks? Totally.

Do I think, “Gee, it’s great to have clean laundry! I’m glad that even though I was exhausted yesterday I made four trips up and down the stairs last night, setting timers and switching loads, to accomplish the task of turning dirty laundry into clean!” every time I look at the clothes baskets? No. I think, “Ugh. I really need to put that stuff away.”

Again, I’m ignoring the accomplishment!! I have clean dish towels, people! I should be celebrating, not chastising myself.

Will the dish towels eventually be folded and put away? Yes. When I need the use of that clothes basket.

Will the semi-organized piles of books on the living room floor eventually find a new shelf? Will the new posters and frames I bought for my bedroom eventually be hung? Will the rest of my dvds eventually be alphabetized? Will all my childhood memorabilia I pulled out of various and sundry hiding places eventually be organized into one spot? Yes. Someday.

Until then? Who cares? I’m tired. I need a nap. A nap without guilt is an accomplishment in itself.

There will always be more projects to start and finish, chores to do, places to go, walks to take, movies to watch, books to read, and things I want to write about than I will ever have energy or time to accomplish. And that’s actually a good thing.

So, with all these things to do, is taking a night, or an entire weekend for that matter, to relax and nap and maybe watch a movie a waste? A waste of what we all wish we had more of, time?

Let’s go back to the dictionary definition.

Adjective: wasted
1. Serving no useful purpose; having no excuse for being
2. Not used to good advantage

You could maybe argue that napping or watching a movie is a day “not used to good advantage”. But I hold firm to the belief, and let’s be clear, I’m arguing with and trying to convince myself here, that a day spent relaxing and recharging yourself is NOT a day “serving no useful purpose or having no excuse for being”.

So, now that I’ve thought about it. What is my official definition of a wasted day?

Well, I think the only way for me to define a wasted day is to define what is NOT a wasted day.

If you enjoyed the people in your life, you smiled, you laughed, you made someone else smile and laugh, you made it through the day getting everything done that absolutely had to get done that day, or at least taking note of the fact that you didn’t get it done, so you can do it tomorrow, and generally took care of yourself and those around you to the best of your abilities, that day was not a waste.

Footnote:
I am not going to expend the energy to take and upload and format and caption a photo for this post. I wrote the words. That is an accomplishment.

4 thoughts on “Wasted day or wasted thinking?”

    1. Good. I’m glad. 🙂 So according to my definition all I have left to do is make it through the grocery store without falling asleep on the cart (or at least take note of the fact that I fell asleep on the cart so I remember to finish the shopping tomorrow) and my day will not be wasted!

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  1. Reading your blog was not a wasted day! It reminded me to do things that will help me ( take walks ) Watch shows that entertain me. Do things with other people that lead to laughter and enjoyment. I don’t have that many days to waste, so I am trying to choose carefully.

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