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When Wasting Time is the Best Use of Time

Almost every productivity site/guru/book/lecture says that same thing. Never wasted time. Pack your day and don’t let anything fall to earth.

After all, Benjamin Franklin told us, “Do not squander time for it is the stuff life is made of.”

With all due respect to Franklin, sometimes the best use of time is wasted time.

Recently, I was making a trip from Dallas to Tulsa to attend a funeral. After lunch, I glanced at my rear tire and it looked low. A tire chair I frequented was in the same parking lot. I drove the car to get the tire checked. It was low on air so they filled it up.

I asked, “does it have a nail in it?” He did a quick glance and wipe and replied, “looks good to me. I think you will be ok.”

Not feeling positive, I got in the car and started north. About 5 miles later, the tire light was flashing on my dashboard. I turned around, went back to the tire shop. Two hours later, they found a nail, patched the tire and filled it full and I was on my way.

Were those two hours a waste of time? It seemed like it but it was the best use of my time.

The question of time is not what do I do with it but what does it gain me. The term “busy” flies off the lips of people with the Mercurial swiftness. When you ask, “what did you accomplish?” no answer is apparent. They are just too busy.

Time is a finite substance that is used, abused, wasted, or employed.

The question for time is “am I using it to get to my destination?

Occupied time is not necessarily the best use of time. Scrolling through your timeline on Facebook, surfing twitter, or just trying to find something to medicate a bored mind only appears to use time. It only keeps us from quieting our mind.

On my trip, there are scenarios I don’t want to imagine. The worst is a crash and the best is several more hours parked on the side of a deserted road waiting for help.

We made it to our destination only because I took extra time to turn back. Two hours of sitting in a tire shop is anything but productive. Yet, it was the most important thing I could do on a 90 degree Texas day. It got me to where I wanted to go.

Take a sobering look at your planner and time log. Notice all the activity, the deadlines, appointments, and phone calls. Then let your life confront a brutal issue–are they getting me to where I want to go?

As I found out, a waste of time can be the best use of my time.

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