Be efficient, be productive, be a better person, and be the WINNER!
All titles of articles promise to help you become a better person by not wasting time.
And they sure do work. Life seems like a video game in which you need to tame the creature called time to fight the procrastination beast and become THE WINNER OF LIFE!
At the same time, they serve as blinkers helping life pass right by you.
Maybe we should start wasting time and stop wasting our life.
Don’t get me wrong, some of these life hacks helped me a lot in turning from a spoiled woman child to something resembling a functioning adult. But, if one thing this dreadful situation has made us see, is that the game is short, and the winners are the ones who enjoyed the game.
When the pandemic hit, I realized how distanced I became from my friends, family and mostly from myself. So I decided to chat with that unproductive and much more chilled person I used to be to get some advice on wasting time successfully.
Comedy and tragedy are inseparable, and the more I learn about comedy I see that the funniest people don’t ignore pain. They stare at it, accept it, and laugh at it.
And COVID times will leave us terabytes of hilarious content as proof that hard times require a lot of toilet paper memes.
Laughter is medicine. Proven to boost your immune system, trigger the release of your endorphins and rid you of stress. The absolute beast in our everyday hero’s journey.
So laugh out loud, with big strong belly laughs. Watch that silly sitcom you feel almost embarrassed about watching or videos of cats terrified of cucumbers. I may have a cat video problem, there is a limit to how many cat videos one should watch – I guess?
And then make somebody else laugh, heal them, since laughter is medicine, and congratulations, you are a better person.
I grew up in a small town and was always annoyed with neighbours being up in my business constantly. They were like human GPS, Linkedin, Facebook and Tinder simultaneously. They knew where I was, with who and why. Escape was the only thing on my mind.
Now, many years later, I miss being in a community.
In a big city, it is effortless to become isolated, even to convince yourself that you don’t need anyone. But you do. Because we are monkeys, and monkeys live in packs.
And the system (Yeah! I said it) is pitting us against each other, telling us how special and different we are, and giving advice on how to be better than everyone.
Let me tell you what I found out. You are not unique, and you need people. But what is more important is that people also need you!
So be kind to your family, friends, neighbours and strangers. Help the people who need it when you can, older people, homeless people, and refugees. If you are badass, you will be kind to assholes, and then, congratulations, you are a better person!
CHECK UP ON FRIENDS
Sometimes it is easier to be kind to strangers than to people we are closest to. I am a person that likes to vocalize every thought I have because I assume everybody is interested. Result of being an only child.
But not everyone is like that.
Some people quickly shut down and close in their world, sometimes even slipping into depression. While others have such busy lives balancing work and family and don’t have time to ask for help.
Let them know you are there and thinking of them. Give a little window to complain and listen without judgment.
Discover new things about the people you think you already know. Take a step away from your neverending self-improvement. And if you do, guess what? You will be a better person.
LOSE YOURSELF TO STORIES
I am a story junky. I love the narration in all forms. Movies, books, podcasts, TV shows, you name it. Stories give us a break from our world and a chance to see life from somebody else’s perspective, and with a structure we often miss from our own lives.
So if you find a page-turner or show that gets you a bit obsessed, let it. You will be immersed in somebody else’s mind for a short time and possibly start thinking about yourself differently.
BE FRIENDS WITH YOUR FAMILY
I am friends with all my closest family members, but the secret to my success may be that they are 1000 kilometres away. Still, I think it is a worthwhile effort to try to understand them better.
There is something about understanding the people you came from and who made you who you are.
I come from a Mediterranean and catholic country, where families are close (maybe too much), and they serve as a safety net throughout your life.
There is loyalty there that is seldom questioned.
Older people are taken care of. And valued. Taking care of a senior family member may be seen as a burden in a society where personal freedom is everything. But maybe personal freedom is overrated.
So call your grandma and be a better person!
Dance it better than sex. Sex can be bad, but dance can´t not. Just do it, and do it anywhere.
COOK AND EAT
Easier said than done, right? When procrastination becomes the enemy, food becomes the fuel. Even if you are being careful about the ingredients of your chia puddings and quinoa salads, and kale shakes, you forgot the main one: joy!
I don’t need to tell you about the joys of cooking. You have seen enough Hollywood movies about Americans visiting other continents and discovering life through cuisine. Picking fresh basil from the garden, milking the cow and making the cheese, then falling in love with the beautiful farm owner, played by Juliette Binoche.
But it is true. Taking the time to learn a recipe and picking the ingredients yourselves (not from the tree, the supermarket will do) is life itself. Life is food, and food is life. And not everyone will find joy in cooking, but eating we all like.
But we are more than capable sucking the joy out of that too.
Rationing your carbs and sugars gives the illusion of controlling your destiny. Consequently, once you break one of the rules you established for yourself, you feel guilty and like a failure.
Eating healthy is essential, but eating a pizza once (or three or four times) a week doesn’t make you a bad person. And if you eat it while binging The Office, I guarantee that is how you will be a better person!
Climb a tree, jump in a lake, or race your friends for no reason. Be ten again, but not the ten-year-old who stares at a smartphone all day. Be you. An old-fashioned kid. Splash in puddles, and mud, get lost in forests and run over meadows. Take bike rides or hikes to places you have never been.
Build a treehouse! I would if I knew how or had a tree.
And leave your phone at home!
Men don’t cry because it is a sign of weakness. Women don’t because they can’t afford to seem weak.
As a result, everybody is walking around like a bunch of emotionally constipated zombies, ready to explode and not fun to be around.
I tend to break out in tears in the most random situations, at work, while riding a bike, or in the supermarket. The reasons are just as random: football, Lion King, or nice weather.
Crying, much like laughter and dancing, is healing. It releases that sweet, sweet oxytocin and endorphins that people pay good money to insert in their bodies in other, not-so-natural ways. And you know what else? It helps you get rid of that nasty monster called stress.
So cry your little heart out, if not for yourself, then for other people that need to tolerate you.
Remember being bored? Having too much time on your hands and nothing to do. Sounds like science fiction. Even in quarantine. There is always something to do. We prefer to stay busy, so we don’t have to deal with ourselves. Or we are drinking or finding other ways to ignore ourselves.
So stare at a wall and do nothing and listen. Listen to the world around you. Listen to yourself.
I refuse to call it meditation because who I am I to give you meditation advice on top of everything. But yeah, ok, this is meditation.
See how your mind works and what it comes up with when you are not distracting it with tasks and time management, and you may be surprised by what comes out of you.
And most importantly, now that you have learned how to waste time so efficiently, don’t feel guilty.
They say that guilt is what separates psychopaths from the rest. That is probably true, guilt does have a purpose. Without it, we may be going around doing whatever we want.
But we do not need to feel it in the amounts we do.
The world needs to slow down.
Productivity and growth need to stop being our number one priority for our planet to be livable for us and other species.
And if you slow down, that is nothing to feel guilty about.
You are making the world a better place and learning ways to waste your time successfully.