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The Biggest Time Wasters We Regret In Life

The Biggest Time Wasters We Regret In Life

Guest Post by: Trishna Patnaik 

"The biggest waste of time is to do well something we do not need to do at all" - Gretchen Rubin

We spend a lot of energy looking for several shortcuts to save time, and those shortcuts do add up to something worthwhile. However, those tend to turn out to be habits in the long run, as they are bigger, more systematic time wasters that have really gotten in the way of our progress and betterment. Fixing these up completely will free up a massive amount of time and energy in our day to day lives and in the way of how we conduct ourselves and work through all the possible exhaustions leading towards time wastage which can never ever come back to us again. 

So what are the obvious yet sidelined factors which have led to such time wastage?

1) Not asking for help

We always wonder if it is okay to ask for help! It makes us wonder how much time we would have wasted by not asking for help over the years. As dumb and irrelevant as you might feel asking questions turn out to be, it is the fastest way to get an answer and move forward too.

Similarly, we do see that asking for help is a great and effective way to get help. This is also why networking and finding a mentor becomes hugely valuable. If you feel you are stuck in your career or need to learn new skills and have no particular idea on how to get started, talking to other people in your very field will make you  go a long way! 

Here is another way to look at it: if you are not asking for help, you are probably not challenging yourself well enough. If you assume that you have all the answers, you are not learning new skills, or trying new things, or even moving forward and out of your very comfort zone. There are a handful of reasons as to why we do not ask for help, but it is usually because we are way too proud or even scared for that matter, and that is definitely a huge waste of time, because it keeps you from moving forward which is your final  and ultimate goal!

2) Trying hard to make bad relationships work

Please understand that relationships require maintenance, but there is a difference between maintaining a good relationship and trying to force a bad and vicious one that does not make much sense to begin with. There is a lot of emotion in romance and friendships, so sometimes it is hard to tell when you must keep trying or you must just call it quits.  A lot of people take bad decisions that waste both their time and the other person’s time. 

For example:

There are several good reasons for wanting to make a relationship work, but then there are those which are not good ones. They do cloud your judgment, prolong your happiness, and distract you from the things that matter to you the most. At the same time, it is coherently hard to say that all bad relationships are a total waste of time, because you learn a lot about yourself from each of them. That is a validated silver lining, so sooner you learn those lessons, the better for you.

Similarly, when not dealing with an emotional impact of a breakup can prove to be a big waste of time! When a relationship does end, we usually go through the typical stages of grief which are associated with loss. It is easy to get comfortable with denial and convince ourselves we do not really care and we are fine. In reality, ignoring the pain only prolongs it further. Our work tends to suffer; the rest of our relationships also suffer. Breakups do not just kill romance; they can really disrupt nearly every area of your life. So do not dwell in what happened but in turn learn the lessons from it and move forward to bring about a better way of life for you! 

3) Perpetually dwelling on your mistakes and shortcomings

Learning from your mistakes is one thing. Dwelling and residing in them does waste your time, diminishes your confidence, and keeps you from getting on with your life in the best possible way.

Dwelling also makes you more conjoined to repeat your mistakes time and again. Do understand that searching through the past can negatively affect behaviour, depending on the ease of never ending recall, even when the past examples that do claim to be apparently positive. 

So instead of dwelling on the past, research does suggest that setting goals for the future can positively change present behaviour. In short, if we want to have better self-control; then only look forward and do not look back!

When you ruminate about your own experiences, it probably makes sense. Dwelling makes you feel like a failure. Of course, you do not want to skip over your mistakes and ignore them either. The goal is to glean something from them, then release the very feeling of failure. 

In order to let the past go, you must forgive yourself officially. Feel the embarrassment or shame one final time. Really feel it throughout your body. Next, tell yourself that everyone makes mistakes and you know that very outcome was not your intention anyways. It was an accident. Finally, make the decision to forgive yourself and go ahead and do it. It helps to even say it out loud as well.

From now on, it is okay. You are forgiven. Every time the thought comes back to you like a loop; simply remind yourself that you have already been forgiven, so there is no reason to feel bad anymore. Then push the thought away and keep progressing forward for the better. 

4) Worrying too much about other people

It is easy to waste time worrying about other people, too. Do spend sufficient time with your friends and loved ones but do not spend a lot of time fretting over problems that do not matter in the long run. The most indulged wasting emotion happens to be either jealousy or even envy for that matter. Comparing yourself to everyone and anyone is an utter waste of time. It will always make you feel inadequate. Like most negative, distressing and destructive feelings, the first (and biggest) step to overcoming it is by understanding it, then absorbing  it and finally redirecting it.

Jealousy and envy are two of the most common yet negative and useless emotions many of us harbour deep within us. They are a bit different from each other but they both serve the same purpose of slow destruction, disruption and disparagement. When you pay attention to your jealousy or even envy and more so what triggers it, then you will learn that it was less about the other person and more about your feelings of inadequacy indicating that you are not good enough. 

The question is, why do you want it in your life or why do you have to keep encountering it in your life or what do you get by been so immersed in it? Once you completely do understand why you feel jealous or envious, you can take appropriate action in order to take care of the problem, whether that means processing the emotions or coming up with new set goals for yourself. Either way, that is a lot more productive, definitive and worthwhile.

Please do understand that most of us are probably guilty of some of these pointers or most of these pointers at some point or the other, and really, they are a part of human nature as well. However, what is more important to understand is that regret is another big waste of time too, so there is no point in beating yourself up over any of these time and again. The sooner you learn from them, though, the sooner you can free up your time and your energy to live the life you want. So then you will live a life which is far more balanced, definitely holistic, and highly fruitful. This in turn will make you a wholesome person to the core! 

Don’t waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.

"Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing" - Miles Davis



Trishna Patnaik is an art therapist and healer. She works with clients on a one on one basis in Mumbai. She holds a BSc (in Life Sciences) and MBA (in Marketing) by qualification but an artist by choice. A self-taught artist based in Mumbai, Trishna has been practising art for over 14 years. After she had a professional stint in various reputed corporates, she realised that she wanted to do something more meaningful. She found her true calling in her passion that is painting. Trishna is now a full-time professional painter pursuing her passion to create and explore to the fullest. She says, "It’s a road less travelled but a journey that I look forward to everyday." Trishna also conducts painting workshops across Mumbai and other metropolitan cities of India.

Photo by Sidnei Maia

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