Monday, 8 April 2013

Wasting time

Are you wasting time, reading this? Or, more to the point, am I wasting time writing it? Or is it a matter of opinion?

I have a friend, in her eighties, who regularly puts me to shame. She never seems to waste a moment, always busy,and she thinks blogging is a waste of time. She doesn't have a computer, and seems not to see the point of computers, and she may well have a point. But our recent conversation - about what constitutes wasting time - set me thinking.

What exactly is a watse of time? Or is one person's restful inactivity another's waste of time? Is it subjective or objective? I blog  because...I enjoy it ( I also do it to defer the moment when I have to write something that might actually earn me some money, but that's by the by). I enjoy writing posts, and reading other people's. I like the peaceful companionship of the blogging community of which I have become a part. So - can something be a waste of time if you're enjoying it? Is stopping the car to admire a view a waste of time? Why would some consider reading a frothy romance a waste of time, but ploughing through War and Peace a good use of time? I happen to prefer War and Peace, but many don't, and wouldn't it be a waste of their time reading it it they didn't enjoy it?

Doing things for others is obviously not a waste of time, and neither is Work. But isn't doing something just to please oneself sometimes a good use of time? Many of us writers write because we enjoy it, with (in some cases) little hope of publication. Is that a waste of time? I think not. Provided the writer enjoys the process, then isn't that OK?

As for fishing, well, I just don't get it. But many would considere the "activity" of fishing less of a waste of time than reading that frothy novel. Or blogging...

One other question: if you weren't reading this, what would/should you be doing?

23 comments:

  1. I have stopped in the middle of writing my next story to read this, Frances! and now I am going to eat a cream egg, which is definitely not a waste of time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh - I've got a cream egg from 2012; do you think it's still edible?

      Delete
  2. I'm no writer at all, never have been, only occasionally used to write personal letters though have written a great many business ones and I've only ever kept an appointment diary, not a personal one that lasted beyond January. So that I've kept up a blog for over seven years is enough to demonstrate that I've found it anything but a waste of time, especially when I consider all the friendships it's brought me.

    Having been out in the garden hacking back brambles, I've come in for a break, have caught up with Facebook Scrabble and emails and am reading blogs. Otherwise, I'd be correcting the minutes of the last governors' meeting, which I was sent this morning. Reading blogs is more fun - so is reading War and Peace come to that: the most recent time I read that was not long ago, putting long hours of insomnia to good use. I'd rather have been asleep and read the book in the daytime, mind you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm an insomniac, too. You have my sympathies. But I dont' think W&P would be my book of choice!

      Delete
  3. "One other question: if you weren't reading this, what would/should you be doing?"

    Attending prayer meetings... toiling behind a plough... helping old ladies across the street, something like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh go on, Valance. Toil behind a plough. And send us a photo!

      Delete
  4. What a very interesting post Frances. Ever since I retired I feel I have been looking for something really worthwhile to fill my time. I've done work in a charity shop, was a steward in a National Trust property (don't do either now), did loads of knitting, but the one constant is my writing group and also my reading group. I think I have now found my role by volunteering at my local primary school, where I listen to some of the children who are struggling with their reading. But unless I am filling my days with useful activities, I feel guilty and lazy. Why?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maggie, it's because you're a woman, and we women feel we have to be doing something useful all the time. I think that's really what this pst is about!

      Delete
  5. Few things in life are as subjective as what to do with one's time, what to consider a "waste" of time and what is time "well spent".
    To me, a waste of time is going to the doctor's because I have a cold, can hardly speak for my sore throat and just need the yellow slip that German employers want as prove you are really not well enough for work. I have to sit in the waiting room for HOURS with lots of sneezing and coughing (and god-knows-what-else-ing) people; once I am called in to see the doctor, it takes him or her 5 minutes to establish that yes, indeed, I do have a sore throat and can hardly speak, and fill in that slip. I'm out and on my way home another 5 minutes later, feeling MUCH worse because I was exposed to all those other sick people.
    Another waste of time - objectively speaking, I think - is when you want to go to a certain shop/museum/restaurant/friend's place and find the shop is shut/doesn't exist anymore/has moved/etc.

    Other than that - as long as you enjoy something, it is definitely NOT a waste of time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I quite enjoy waiting in waiting rooms because it gives me a wonderful reason to read during the day (I usually read in bed)!

      Delete
  6. Blogging is not a waste of time. Something you enjoy, that is companionable and enjoyable, and feeds your needs in many ways and harms no one is, in my opionion, using my time just how I like to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Libby, that's just what I wanted to hear!

      Delete
  7. Life is something to enjoy so no matter what you're doing, as long as you're enjoying it, then you can't be wasting time. So many people feel lazy about doing nothing or speng time on trivialities. They shouldn't. As long as they're happy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're making me feel much better, Lynne!

      Delete
  8. I'd say you are only really wasting time if you think you could have spent it better. The tricky part is that sometimes one cannot tell beforehand if time spent on this or that will prove worth while or not!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a very good (if disturbing) point!

      Delete
  9. Time spent on worrying about whether that spell of your past, or future, was or will be wasted is time wasted. Time spent in the here and now, on whatever, isn't. This extends even to the writing of pseudo-philosophical blog comments. (Though I may have to waste some time tomorrow worrying about that.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! I'll have to go away and think about that...

      Delete
  10. As so often Frances you have produced a post which could occupy many hours of detailed philosophical consideration (who am I kidding - substitute the word 'fun') for your readers. That's ably demonstrated by some of the superb (in my opinion but who am I to be a judge) comments it has elicited.

    I've read War and Peace in three different translations (in my earnest younger days when I did That Sort of Thing) and many (including possibly me now) would consider that a waste of time. I've been blogging since it was suggested that it would be a good way of keeping friends in the 'opposite' country to the one I'm living in at any period of 6 months informed of things of interest. I've never considered a single moment a waste of time. Any more than I consider the many hours each week I spend playing competitive croquet a waste of time. Or any of the other things (including ironing when I watch the tv) that I do.

    I'm about to have coffee and do a crossword.

    What a useless life I lead nowadays. But I am very happy. Not a moment is wasted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds wonderful, GB. I just wish I had the keepig in touch with friends excuse, but mine don't tend to read my blog!

      Delete
  11. PS Please don't stop blogging. I'd miss you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaaaah...you say the sweetest things, GB.

      Delete