For as long as I can remember, I’ve been pushing people I know to stop “wasting their time”. And, before I go tearing down some walls, I should start by stating that I still believe that the majority of adults do many activities that are as empty and detrimental to the mind and soul, as junk food is to the body, and for no better reason other than the mix of temptation and easy reach. These are simply ways of passing time (as if you had way too much of it to pass) and numbing boredom, offering nothing in return. TV is a good example of this (not TV shows in particular, but just the wasted ad-filled hours searching for entertainment on an old medium). These I remain strongly opposed to.
That said, I have realised in the last few years that I took this too far and may have thrown out the baby with the bath water. If you are doing something that makes you happy, that relaxes you, that entertains you, something you’re passionate about or that has a positive effect on you in whatever way, even though you can’t really fit this thing in your purposeful life plan, you should probably keep doing it and don’t feel guilty about it. This is where the magic comes from and to lose this is to risk losing the main source of your inspiration.
I say inspiration and I intentionally use the word with a very broad sense here. Creative ideas, innovation, finding opportunities — all this and so much more comes from this space of “playing”, of “wasting time”. You can’t build things that people are passionate about if you don’t know or understand what these things are or if you don’t echo that passion yourself about some things in life. You use this to connect to other people, to make friends, to build love, to help view the world through a different lens. And it’s your passion that helps you care about how to make better whatever it is you are doing and gives you ideas that may turn into small projects or may turn into lifetime opportunities.
I’m working now on a project (that I can’t yet talk about) that I dismissed in university as a time waster “I don’t get”. I don’t regret any of my choices back then, but there’s no doubt that I would have had an easier time getting started now, if I hadn’t been so much against it in my younger days. If you want to help people with their daily habits, you have to know what these habits are. And if you want to build the best you can, you can’t just get your requirements from a piece of paper, you have to live the product.
So allow yourself to waste some time… the long-term benefit may be well worth it.