Time Flies When You Waste It. | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Time Flies When You Waste It.

I have a stack of magazines that I haven't read.  They just keep accumulating as I turn my attentions to other projects and necessities.  Real SimpleBetter Homes and Gardens.  Classical Singer MagazineMartha Stewart Living.  Even The Ensign on my nightstand has been a little neglected lately.

Last week I finally found a bit of downtime and snuggled up in my comforter to read after the kids were safely in their own beds.  As I was flipping along, trying to digest all of the information (Diet No More!  Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Feel Great!; Get Organized, Stay Organized; Simple Paint Tricks to Perk Up Any Room; The Singer's Purse; Beautiful Wrapping Ideas; Spend Less This Season) I came across a quote that hit me hard enough to make me stop and really think.

"Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity."                             ~La Bruyere, Characters

I am forever wishing that each day held double its allotment of hours, because I can never manage to finish all that is on my daily list.  Often I am frustrated because, yet again, I just plain forgot to do the laundry while I was busy doing some other project that struck my fancy.  Like painting the bathroom in the middle of a crazy week, for instance.  I really honestly think that I could complete all of the tasks on my daily lists, but by the end of the day, I realize it is a hopeless quest.  I have simply run out of time.

I have generally chalked it up to having expectations that are way too high for myself.  I am not Martha Stewart, after all.  What I am is a mother of young children.  That makes for some interesting side trips on my daily to-do list.  I don't wake up each morning and plan to clean up an entire box of Cheerios from the kitchen floor.  I don't foresee having to change and wash the sheets on two beds because Sophia managed to wet both hers and mine during the night.  I definitely never thought that cleaning toothpaste out of my own hair would ever take top priority in a day. Broken wrists, fevers and coughs, runny noses--these can grind vacuuming to a halt, leave dirty dishes in the sink for hours and sometimes days, and easily push practicing right out the window.

You will all be quick to reassure me that yes, this is most certainly the case.  I simply try to do too much, and of course, there are the children.  I'm normal.  I shouldn't worry. I accomplish enough. And yet, that quote I read struck something deep within me.  Something about it rang a little bit too true.  I don't make the best use of the time I am given.  Far too much of it is wasted doing things that matter little in the grand scheme of things.  Or even in the littlest scheme of things, really.

Let's just be honest here.  I waste time.


I have always freely admitted my distaste in being beholden to schedules and to the clock.  I completely resent being immersed in a project (however unimportant) and having to watch the time because I have some annoying commitment.  I also completely resent having to stick to just one thing.  I like to flit between projects.  This happens on both a macro scale, evidenced in my frequent "kicks" which are dropped with not a thought when I tire of them, and a micro scale, evidenced in my inability to finish making my bed when I think of something I need to do upstairs.

If only I didn't waste so many minutes during my day.  I could be truly great.

So, the other day, I stayed focused and on task.  I really thought about what I wanted to accomplish, vs. what needed to be accomplished.  I thought about my kids and their needs.  I scheduled it out and I executed.

I conquered the list that day.

Can I do this every day?  No.  In fact, the very next day I was back to my old ways: wasting time on the computer, flitting from job to job and never completing any task, putting in a load of laundry and totally forgetting about it, being annoyed at commitments I had made to others because it left me less time to do the nothing I was already in the middle of doing.

I have learned a little about myself.  There's nothing wrong with thinking big and trying to do everything, but a schedule and a plan is paramount.  And I may be just humbled enough to submit to a teensy bit more order in my life. 

We'll see how it goes.


  1. That line struck me a bit too. I need to reprioritize a bit. I do believe that we should allow ourselves down time too. No one can do it all without getting burned out. Congrats on making your list. Now just don't beat yourself up for the days when you can't.

  2. I also hate the clock and schedules. I suffer from the same syndrom and I may even be chronic or acute at this point. Why don't they make a proceedure to rid you of wasted or improperly used time?

  3. I am definitely a time waster. I need to learn better time management.

  4. Good Luck! I am a bit of a time waster myself. I make lists and things but I am a BIG procrastinator. There is always something more fun than laundry, cleaning bathrooms and things :)

  5. I am one to flit from project to project... never quite finishing them. Our dining room chairs are recovered, but still need to be sanded and varnished. The screws have been half heartedly screwed in so we can have a place to sit in the evening.

    You described my days perfectly and have given me incentive to work on using my time wisely before more and more children come into my life and make time REALLY precious.

  6. I am a professional time waster. I can look like I'm busy. Really. While, in fact, I am not doing a dang thing.

    Thanks for this post. That quote will be posted somewhere prominent in my home. Just for me.

    Happy Friday!

  7. See, I think I might be the opposite, but then, it can create just as much of a problem. See, I feel like I can't start any project, or any task until the basics are all completely done. I find myself often trying to catch up the laundry, the dishes, get the floors and bathrooms clean so that I can sit down and do something that really needs to be done, or something that I just really WANT to do. But the basics? When are they ever really finished? Sometimes you have to just walk away and accomplish something that makes you feel good, you know?

  8. Amen. I piddle around way too often. When I plan my days (or have them planned for me by default) I end up getting so much more done.

  9. Here, Here!! I think we all feel the same way.

  10. "I was back to my old ways: wasting time on the computer, flitting from job to job and never completing any task, putting in a load of laundry and totally forgetting about it, being annoyed at commitments I had made to others because it left me less time to do the nothing I was already in the middle of doing." Um, hello, kindred spirit here. :) I SO needed this post. TODAY. RIGHT NOW. Thank you. :)

  11. This is brilliant beyond brilliant. (That didn't make sense, of course, but I hope it gets my point across!) I LOVE this post! Not only does it ring SO true for me (a professional putterer), but it is just plain old brilliant. I have no other word for it. (Obviously.) Thank you for writing it, thank you for sharing it, and thanks for ensuring me that I am not alone in my wasting of time. Mostly thank you for reminding me there IS something I can do to help and when that doesn't work, it's OK.

  12. It's a great quote, and you know I need it as much as you do. I'm also learning that my flitting self is special to Heavenly Father even with my lack of organizational ability. Constantly beating myself up that I'm not as organized as I think I should be has actually made me less good at listening to the promptings of the spirit.

    Also, it helps when I go to sleep before 12:30.

  13. This is so funny because I think the title of my next blog post will be (really) My name is Kristy and I'm addicted to distraction....

    Good luck!

  14. You could have been writing a description of me - especially when it comes to putting in laundry and forgetting about it or being on the computer.

  15. Well, you still get a lot done.
    The truth is most of us waste a LOT of time.
    we have to, or we'd die. :)
    I need to go waste my time with my foot up. :)

  16. I have been having a hard time staying on task lately, too. I start something and then I just can't seem to finish it...which is completely opposite my usual personality. Must be the weather.

  17. Interesting to think about... I have a never-ending to do list too, and I HAVE to literally make a list or I will be totally overwhelmed. (I tend to flit too.) Lists help me keep my sanity! It's amazing how good I feel when I get the things on the list crossed off.

    But then more just gets added to it, which is what makes it never-ending.

    Thanks for that post, I enjoyed it.

  18. Lara,
    This is your Dad even though I'm using your moms's link and I just couln't help put make a comment. I think you got the "waste time gene" from dear ol Dad. But I think that the thing that helped me become more organized, not that I've arrived yet, was becoming a UPS driver. It's a job that you just don't have the luxury of wasting time. The problem is that when you become highly effecient in one aspect of your life, you might let yourself off the hook in others. I tend to do that just because I am inclined to have that tendancy anyway. I guess that the important thing is just to realize what our weaknesses are and turn them into strenths. I'm still working on that one too.

  19. For the sake of my second child I am being FORCED to become more scheduled ... it's killing me! ;) But she's worth it, so on we go. I do love that quote ... speaks volumes!

  20. Oh, my, did this ever hit home. Most of the time I'm pretty good about sticking to my schedule (which is usually unrealistic, so when I still don't finish everything I need to do, I'm way too hard on myself), but I know there's always room for improvement—or major overhaul! I think it's good to try to make these changes gradually, though, since this sort of thing is an ongoing process. Here's to all of us getting there someday!

  21. I make daily to-do lists and whatever is undone, I move to the next day. I try & be unemotional about it, but still unfinished stuff can drive me a little nuts at times.

    Time is a strange thing, she can be relentless, ever ticking, despite all of our fancies. it's up to use to discover which fancies are the most important and then dive in.

    I try & enjoy each day for what it brings, list completed or not. I'm still learning...

  22. I know someone who is unemployed, has moved back in with her parents, has one child who spends 50% of the time away from home, and is not in school. I asked her why she didn't have a home business from a certain product line that she totally loves, she answered "because I don't have the time"...but she does have time to watch Jerry Springer, soooo...you know.

  23. I've gotten to the point that I'm so overwhelmed with what I need to do or WANT to do that it exhausts me and I end up just sitting on the computer and reading about others out living and doing! And then I get bummed because I didn't do anything productive,creative or worth while and it just makes it worse....

    It's a bad pattern I'm in. I just haven't figured out how to just do it.

    Oh the struggles of balance!!

  24. Sticking to a schedule? Ugh I am so tied to mine with my job and school that I long for some acting out against it! But I know when my kids were younger and I was home all day and I had to set my own plan it was really tough. Finding the balance between structure and some flexibility.

    Always leave room for fun though!

  25. Yeah, I have a feeling we see things the exact same way. My problem is that if I make a plan, I'm very good about sticking to it but I become very inflexible and can't easily change course. I need to find the middle ground. But that's true of everything in my life, I guess.

  26. Sigh...
    I was struggling with some of this after church today. How much time do I spend doing spiritual stuff? But, I always alot several hours on a Thursday night for my favorite shows.

    Balance. Balance. One day I'll master it...when there aren't cheerios to clean.

  27. You know, my mother was a perfect mother. She never yelled in anger, not one time that I can remember. The house was forever filthy, but she is the one person I've ever known who has NO regrets about raising her children because she did what was most important, always. I wish I could be like her in that respect. (and keep my house clean, too.)
    Lately, my most humble and sincere prayers have been to please, Lord, save me from me. Because I know how precious time is, and know it is urgent to do things, and I am so weak. And, He hears me, and things are better.--Amanda B.

  28. It is so easy for me to be lazy these days because I don't feel good. But then I regret it when my dishes pile up and there is nothing to eat off of, or when my kids say they have nothing in their drawers AGAIN.

    Very nice post!