How do you “waste” time?

Supermarket Sweep Reruns? Social media?

Make no doubt, they are both ways we choose to occupy our minds, particularly when we don’t feel productive.

One thing I’ve noticed is that social media often feels like productivity. On Facebook, it feels as if you’re connecting to people you’ve lost touch with. On a site like Reddit, it can feel like you are learning something new. On Twitter, you’re keeping abreast of the news of the day.

These are all mostly illusions.

The best way to keep in touch is to call someone directly.

The best way to learn something new is to read a book, or work on a project.

The best way to keep abreast of the news…well, in this day and age, it might be good to skip it!

Yesterday, I wrote a post about seeing a rerun of Supermarket Sweep. This show was on when I was a teenager. It took me back to days before I had a cell phone, let alone a smart phone. It made the connection in my mind of how much simpler the times were back then, even though old people in those eras still thought of “simpler times” from their era. It wasn’t just simpler, it was that we weren’t being bombarded with messages from multiple directions at all times. Sure there were commercials, and Supermarket Sweep itself was an vehicle for advertising products, but today during the day, you may be in front of a computer, and on the web as you search you’re receiving ads. In your email, there are ads. On your phone there are is push notifications. Everywhere you go, messaging that doesn’t stop.

On social media, you’ll find everyone with a cause. Though, most of the time, it isn’t really a cause, it’s a gripe. And that gripe builds up outrage and anger. Eventually, that anger has to go somewhere. You can see where it’s heading each day in the news.

So what can be done about this?

Turn off the phone for a week, and watch Supermarket Sweep or whatever other boring, old show you like. Or go to the library and get a book to read. Realize all the things you should be doing based on people on social media, aren’t nearly as important as they seem. Realize every second of the day doesn’t have to have a cause or a purpose. You can simply choose to be, though compared to the rest of the animal kingdom, humans aren’t particularly good at this.

Once you realize that for some period during the day you can “simply be”, the focus during the day time on the work you have to do can increase as you realize everything else is a distraction that doesn’t add much value to your life, but certainly makes it feel stressful.