Is pausing a waste of time?

time going

Is pausing a waste of time?

I am struggling to write about the theme of “time” for our January blogs. Time is right near the top of the list as one of the biggest excuses we use to avoid pausing. My own relationship with time has been evolving and I still wrestle with finding enough time for what I want and need to do in life, never mind finding some time to slow down and pause. Does that sound familiar to you? 

So, trying to write a blog about how time controls or eludes us feels just a bit too close to home. There are so many metaphors about time. We save it. We kill it. We are told to manage time. Time marches on and we must find ways to save time. “Time is money,” they say. Sometimes they even say we waste time. 

It is that last phrase which I want to unpack.  

  • What does wasting time really look like?  
  • Who decides what time is wasted and what is not?  
  • What does wasting time mean for you? 
  • What do you feel when you find time on your hands? Panic? Relief? 


The idea of wasting time is rooted in the narrative that time has a value based on its productivity. But if we removed the idea of productivity from the equation and just enjoyed time, would that be wasteful?. Annie Dilliard said, How we spend our days, is, of course, how we spend our lives.” So, perhaps, we need some days that aren’t defined by our productivity. 

It feels that the definition of how we spend our time should be up to us and not others. Because how often do we allow obligations, protection of others feelings and wants at the expense of our energy/time. What we say yes to is actually saying no to something else. Are you willing to do that?

There are so many priorities in life and it is hard to decide what’s most important. Many of us don’t pause long enough to discover what is most important to us. Once we have identified what is most important, then we must decide if how we spend our time aligns with those identified priorities, which also requires pausing. A few years ago, I worked for a company where the joke during annual planning was about the top 10 #1 priorities for the year. Maybe the struggle is not with time but actually about our inability to prioritize or say no to things in life. 

While researching for this blog, I found this blurb cited as the Wall Street Journal. I haven’t found the author yet but it goes like this: 

“Instead of saying “I don’t have time,” try saying “it’s not a priority” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets but I just don’t want to do it. But other things are harder. Try it – “I’m not going to edit your resumé, sweetie, because it is not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.” 


Maybe it is time to prioritize a pause now and then so you can prioritize yourself. Check out these resources for reasons why this may be just what you need to spend your time on: 


Our Sabbatical Society membership may also be what you need to pause. Each month, members receive an email of digital exclusive goodies just for them. Check out the reduced prices for 2021 in our shop and you too can receive the member email that will invite you to pause, reflect, and enjoy life for a few minutes.  

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