Wasting time: difference between productivity and busyness

Wasting time: difference between productivity and busyness

Wasting time – by definition it is the devotion of time to a useless activity. What is defined as useless? In this context, it is an activity that brings no compensating gain.

Be it homework, projects or progressing in life, when one is not doing what he is “suppose” to be do to a dance in his life, then he is simply wasting it.

But that is not really fair, in fact, it isn’t really true. Yes, beyond a certain point, this can be considered as procrastination. But wasting time and procrastination are two different things, at least in my opinion.

People who procrastinate are those who waste time to avoid getting things done, while the one that I’m talking about is being engaged in an activity that doesn’t relate to your objectives, and therefore can be seen as wasting time.

Wasting time provide a subtle advantage that few openly acknowledge given its taboo status.

Think of all the great achievers of the world. They don’t waste time, because time is never enough. But that is an illusion – people see what they want to see. They see their role models working beyond the limits of the common man and thus aspire to be like them. Now I am not saying such people don’t exists, but such facts are usually exaggerated by our perspective.

Our interpretation of being busy has also been warped over the years. German sociologist and economist Max Weber describes this as a confusion of activity with morality, one that stems from being able to work "overtime" thanks to advances in technology.

With artificial lights breaking us free from the shackles of night, a phase of economic emergence, more and more people start to get busier to become richer.


So from then on, the logic was simple - being more productive is good. But nowadays being productive had become misinterpreted as being busy. It made sense right? Busier means you are going more work done, more work done means more money, and more money means more success.

But there is something many people tend to forget (or ignore) - being productive usually means being busy, but being busy does not necessarily mean you are productive.

I run a blog, and at the beginning, I kept wrecking my head while staring at a blank screen, trying to use all the time I have to squeeze thoughts in my head into words people will read.

As the duration got longer, it got harder, and all the more reason for me to spend more time on the computer. But then I noticed a pattern, I always worked well at the start of my "writing session" if you could call it that, but never being productive after a certain amount of time.

I tried taking breaks in between. A full hour break rather than those 10 minute "power" breaks that we all have used to lie to ourselves that we had a break.

I slept, I went to eat. I strolled around the neighbourhood and guess what, it worked wonders. My articles are of better quality, and I feel less stressful, resulting in a more balanced lifestyle.

I justify the act of wasting time in its appropriate undertaking as it is about taking a break from the monotony of everyday tasks.

The brain craves to be excited and intrigued. Having it focus on a monotonous task for extended periods of time is quite torturous, especially since our brains are capable of so much more. This is why we do stupid things, feel like travelling, daydream and a million other things. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as it works.

Does this means that your time to do what needs to be done is reduced? Of course! But the benefits from a refreshed mind is sure to make up for it. Those who work requires creative thinking may look towards such short escapes for inspiration.

And lastly, thanks for wasting your time on this article! If you found it enjoyed it, I would really appreciate if you could share it with your friends using the toolbar on the left or on the bottom if you are using your mobile device.