A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
We all know how to waste time. We get bored, we don't feel like doing anything useful, we get side-tracked, and for a hundred and one other reasons we find ourselves piddling away the minutes, hours, and perhaps even days. Yet, we have a constant nagging conscience that keeps telling us, "Get up, get going, do something!"
In the hectic world that so many of us find ourselves in today, time becomes a precious commodity. Yet, we often go through the day losing some minutes here, some more minutes there, and a wasted hour or two somewhere else. Our electronic world is a champion time waster. Consider the amount of time you spend each day on the following activities:
Checking and pinning on Pinterest.
Posting photos and trivia in various places.
Reading actual mail.
Checking and reading non-work related material like sports scores.
Newspapers and magazines.
Minding someone else's business.
Making excuses for why you never got anything done today.
As is our custom here, making up your own list of time wasters is more productive than reading through mine. You probably have some wonderfully creative ways and means of whiling away the minutes of a day that I have never thought of.
If you haven't actually thought seriously about how you spend the hours in a day, try writing down a log for several days and see just how much time you actually are engaged in productive and useful activities and how much time you are blowing away in the wind. Of course, not all non-productive time is wasted. A few minutes to relax, some time to think about and plan your day and your work, discussing an idea about your job with your co-worker, all of these and many other similar activities are valuable in making progress in your daily activities. What matters is whether you are really getting somewhere, whether you are making progress inch by inch, or whether you are letting the days and hours go by with empty results and lagging progress.
If you think you are wasting too much time on the job, and if you are married and have a family, try changing places with your stay-at-home spouse for two or three days and see how much time you end up wasting during those days and still get everything done that your spouse typically accomplishes during any given day. Then you will feel guilty the next time you pause at the water cooler to dissect last night's sports event or while away the minutes entertaining yourself with your email.
The two classic excuses for not accomplishing anything are the following:
I don't have time.
I don't have money.
So get serious. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Busy people find a way to maximize their use of limited time to get the maximum benefits from each block of time throughout the day. And we all know that we feel better at the end of the day if we leave a short list of big accomplishments behind when we wind down the day and count our blessings.
Task Number 210: Cut out the time wasters. Doing something is more valuable than wasting time. Good luck, and keep going just a bit faster now that you are eliminating time wasters, one by one. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
Most of the time we know what we need to do and why we need to do it. Then why is it so hard to start the changes we know we need to make and then keep working on the changes after we get started? If we all knew the answers and the solutions to these dilemmas, we would all be slim and trim, our health would be better, we would be more productive in our work, we would have everything fixed in our homes that needs to be fixed, we would be financially solvent, and we would go merrily on our way, on top of the world.
Unfortunately, we continually fight the enemies of our progress and our firm resolves to do better. We have discussed many of these enemies before, but we will review some of them and add a few new obstacles to the list:
Fear of the unknown.
Lack of self confidence.
Fear of failure.
Lack of focus.
Ignoring warning signs.
Uncertainty about how best to proceed.
Lack of knowledge or "know-how".
Bad advice and wrong information.
Listening to the wrong people.
Doubts that we need to make the change.
Lack of help and support.
Mental and emotional stress.
Pressures to continue current behavior.
Lack of time.
Lack of energy.
Lack of caring.
Addiction to current habits.
Feeling that we know better than those advising us to change.
Lack of money.
Perhaps you can add another dozen or more creative reasons that have kept you locked into a stupor of thought and a sure knowledge that you know what is best no matter what doctors, family, and others are telling you or warning you about. We may reach a stage in our lives where we can successfully ignore any and all advice and information about changes that would lengthen our lives, save us numerous doctor and pharmacy bills, and make our everyday lives more trouble free and happier.
One thing we may want to consider is the idea that we don't have to "go it alone." We can get help. We can seek supporting and clarifying information that outlines the paths we might follow to achieve a long-elusive goal. We can find a buddy, a friend, that we can work with and share exercise and diet information and personal burdens. We can find solace and inspiration in prayer. We can strengthen our lives with hobbies like photography. Our lives can be illuminated and our futures can be made clearer through writing journals and lists. Our boring lives can be made interesting and varied by making small but welcome changes in our routines.
If we remain under a cloud of worry or anger or frustration, our odds of proceeding in any positive ways to acknowledge the need for making changes in our lives and then following through and actually making these changes remain slim or nonexistent. Even a tiny bit of progress, following the rule of one that we continually discuss, can help us turn the corner and can light the way to making our lives happier and healthier.
Task Number 209: Be honest with yourself and consider the kinds of help that you need to fulfill your goals. Then take steps to get the help that you need. You will always be glad that you realized that you may not be a super man or super woman and that you can benefit by other sources of help. Good luck and keep going. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
Life can be difficult and confusing at times. Having too much stuff around merely adds to the confusion. The solution is simple: Get rid of the stuff you don't need. Ask yourself the following questions about your stuff:
Do I really need this?
How long (days, months, years) has it been since I used this?
How likely is it that I will use this in the next (day, week, month, century)?
Am I too sentimentally attached to this stuff to throw it away?
Name five reasons why it is important to keep this stuff.
Name five reasons why you have never gotten rid of this stuff.
Write down five benefits from getting rid of this stuff.
Where and to whom can I give away this stuff?
How many garbage cans will it take to get rid of the stuff that no one on earth would ever want?
Can I help someone in need by giving away stuff I hate, don't use, haven't ever used (much), and do not intend ever, ever to use again, at least in this life?
Who in my family or among my friends would like keepsakes that would likely get thrown out if something happens to me? (Like if I die, for instance).
You might weep and wail over tossing stuff you haven't paid any attention to for decades, but you'll get over it quickly. When people realize that, after all, they didn't need a "dream home" with 27 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms and begin to downsize after Esmerelda and Junior finally moved out, the last of umpteen kids who populated your mansion heretofore, the first thing people have to do is get rid of most of their stuff. However traumatic that selling your house where you have 10 doorposts with the growth marks of 10 kids still marked on them turns out to be, I can promise you from experience and from talking to countless other people who have downsized that you will never miss your dream home or your stuff.
Here is the main advantage of getting rid of stuff: Life is simplified. Life is less complicated. You have less stuff to replace, wear out, fix, and insure. Your new house is easier to navigate in. You no longer have to be a professional heavy-duty janitor to keep thousands of square feet of unused space dusted, vacuumed, cleaned, and scrubbed in case someone comes to visit and would leave commenting about your dirty house. Plus you may not have room in case one, two, or three of your kids decide it would be cheaper to move back in with mom and dad for several years while they get their feet on the ground, so to speak.
While you are busy decluttering your house, you might declutter your mind of excess garbage. For example, here are some things you can toss and get rid of:
Excess worries. Worries are baggage that drag you down. Worries have never accomplished anything. Believe me, I am a veteran worrier and I speak from decades of experience. You can't make progress on achieving any of your goals or making any changes until you stomp out the worries. Substitute good and cheerful thoughts for gloomy and pessimistic thoughts.
Grudges. Grudges keep you locked in neutral. You spend too much time being angry at someone else instead of motivating yourself to actually (split infinitive!) do something about your long overdue plan to achieve a goal.
Habits. Dump all of your worthless habits in the garbage can.
Buying sprees. Avoid the mall. Avoid online infomercials. Avoid Amazon. You don't need new packages showing up on your doorstep daily, hourly. You don't need any more stuff.
Excuses. Name all of the excuses that have prevented you from losing weight, cutting down on spending, kept you from cleaning up clutter, mired you in difficult family relationships, and chuck each and every feeble and worthless excuse down the disposal, turn on the grinder, and watch them vanish.
There. You could have spent many dollars on a library of books that tell you how to solve all of your problems and declutter your house and brain. Think of the money you have saved just by reading the Curmudgeonly Professor's Task number 208. You haven't added one bit of clutter to your lives and you wouldn't have read past the first two or three paragraphs of any magic book you bought anyway. So set a goal and a time limit to get rid of stuff and enjoy your simplified and clutter-free life. Good luck, and keep going. The Curmudgeonly Professor.