Column By J1 Reporter Lucy Loughran
Wasting time is an extremely common fear and occurrence for many people, especially high school students. When coming home from an eight hour or more school day, and then often going to an extracurricular activity or a job, arriving home and doing nothing sounds like an amazing plan.
At least, that’s what I know: a full day at school, followed by an activity or maybe work, constitutes some free time to spend doing nothing. The only problem is this: doing nothing leads to feelings of unproductivity and guilt. The feeling that you’ve wasted time is not an uncommon feeling at all, but it is very hard to avoid.
When I find myself wasting time and suddenly feel blameworthy, I try to remind myself that it’s okay to spend time recouping and healing after a long day. Though wrongdoing and stress can eat away at me for seemingly wasting precious minutes by doing nothing while I could be productive, I focus on that fact. Ultimately, an endless, cycling spiral of wasted time and culpability will do nothing but harm.
Keeping that in mind, there are several tactics you can use to silence feelings of regret for taking time for yourself.
One way to escape the guilt of being unproductive is to set a timer for yourself; whether you are taking a nap or just scrolling through social media, allowing yourself a specific, allotted amount of time can be highly beneficial. This allows you to keep track of time while also maintaining an orderly schedule.
Another way to improve personal effectiveness is to prioritize your activities and jobs throughout the day. If you are stressing about a certain homework assignment, then put that as a top priority. Placing the thing that causes you the most stress above the things that are for leisure or relaxation can help you feel as if you are taking responsibility. Doing the hard stuff first lets you set aside feelings of stress and relax.
This next tactic is one that comes as a bit of a surprise. Though it may be the most difficult out of the ones previously listed, I’ve found it to be the most beneficial.
Rejecting activities or ways to spend time that simply won’t do you any good can be extremely productive. Contrary to popular belief, it is completely okay to say no. Say no to spending four hours on TikTok, only to regret it later that night when you’re swamped with homework. You’d be surprised how beneficial this can be for your conscience.