What Do You Spend Too Much Time Doing?

Sometimes, we are not the best managers of our time and attention. Is there an activity that you spend too much time doing?

If you’ve been alive for more than five minutes, you are likely aware of the feeling of a sudden realization that you just spent an hour — or more — doing something that you hadn’t planned on doing.

There are many activities that might fall into this category. Browsing social media, from Facebook to Tik Tok to Instagram, can have this effect. These software platforms, in fact, are designed to capture our attention and make us lose track of time.

Similarly, our phones have other ways to distract us, from playing electronic games to reading blog posts to watching videos.

Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What is the value of inefficiency?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘How can we encourage debate?’

But there are plenty of in person, physical distractions as well. For some, cleaning can be a way of avoiding other tasks. You may have had the experience of being so absorbed in a novel that you stay up reading much later than is advisable, and you might even be groggy the next day from too little sleep.

If you find yourself regularly indulging in these behaviors, is there a particular task or type of task that you are avoiding? Is there anything in common with these events?

To sum up, what do you spend too much time doing? Is there a reason why?

Related questions: What do you waste the most? Are we too busy? What would you do if you had more time? Do you have unstructured time?


4 thoughts on “What Do You Spend Too Much Time Doing?”

  1. I spend too much time thinking about whether I should blog. As far as I can tell, a blog is the best place for me to provide a comprehensive narrative of my thoughts and share sources of good information. And I think there’s value in my sharing about housing justice work, mental health issues, food security topics, and the fruits of my labor in my heirloom garden. However, almost no one reads blogs. Therefore, when I blog, much time is spent trying to bring people to a place they likely won’t go. And so, I use less narrative-oriented platforms, like Facebook, to share the issues that matter to me and I believe should matter more to others. As would be expected regarding such a situation, I am left feeling I could make a better impact if only I could attract an audience.

  2. I suppose I play too many card games (online these days, since in-person card games were a casualty of the pandemic). The time I spend on them could probably be put to better use. Although I enjoy them, so it’s difficult to make the case that you spend too much time doing something you enjoy.

    There is another way of looking at the question as stated. What about the types of activities that we don’t enjoy and are not things we would choose to do, but they have to be done for other reasons?

    In that category, I’d suggest that I spend too much time (and/or money) calculating how much tax I owe the government every year. That one is particularly galling, because in a better designed and executed system, the IRS could do all the calculation itself, and every year I’d just get a notification about how much I owe.

    The other one is dishes. I spend too much time at the sink washing dishes. I’ve tried to figure out ways to enjoy it, but so far they have all failed.

  3. Sitting. Maybe you’ve heard the expression “sitting is the new smoking.”
    My wife knows me best and she encourages me to sit less.
    Before I retired, I got a stand-up desk in my office. I need one of those now at home.

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