Taking Back My Wasted Time

I was on the train today and the worst possible thing on the planet that could happen to me happened. My phone died. Normally I have a contingency plan for that, but all of them fell through and I was forced to ride the train in total silence, with nothing but my imagination to pass the time. This is the perfect example of wasted time. And despite all the iPhone’s ways of keeping me connected to the world, the single greatest accomplishment of the mobile era, is helping me reclaim those wasted moments in my life.

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I’m a productivity nut. But how I categorize productivity might be different than the usual definition. Things I categorize as being productive that might be surprising are:

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Why are these productive? Because living a good life also requires having some fun. And in this new, always on world, it can be easy to lose site of that. So in order for me to live my life balanced, I actually have to put these fun things in my to-do app because if I don’t, I may not make the time for them. So watching 30 minutes of the Daily Show during a train ride is a huge win for me. I’ve now made that wasted time, productive and without the added guilt of thinking “there are 40 other things I could be doing right now.”

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In the same light, there are some things that I categorize as unproductive yet they still need to be done for various reasons.

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These are things that HAVE to be done in everyone’s life. But they’re unproductive to me because

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  1. I can find other ways to get the same result. (Take out?)
  2. The end result doesn’t phase or impact me in a really meaningful way. (So there’s dishes in the sink. I don’t mind, I’ll wash the dish I need when I need it)

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Fortunately I have a wife that very much cares about these things. She saves me from my own slothfulness. But I make these tasks bearable by combining them with mobile devices to also make them productive. I’ll wash dishes, cook dinner and grocery shop all in the same day if I can also listen to my podcasts or audiobooks. Because those activities are deemed productive and therefore have saved me from what would be wasted time. (Although that time is greatly appreciated by the Mrs.)

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I try my best to guard against this wasted time. It’s so bad that I carry 3 devices just to make sure it doesn’t happen.

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Despite these gadgets, the perfect storm occurred today and I was forced to stand in silence, watching others be productive. I mentally created a mind map for this post, which made me feel a little better, (Especially since I’m actually writing/posting it) but all-in-all it was a frustrating experience.

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Good or bad, the mobile revolution is pushing us to be busy bodies both in our work and our leisure. The conversations about mobile are always around being connected or disconnected from the world around. For me, it’s just about getting shit done.

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