The Art of Wasting Time

How do you define ‘wasted’ time? Is it time spent scrolling through social media? Maybe sitting in traffic or waiting in a long line? Having to go back and redo something that didn’t turn out as expected? Saying “Yes” too often and doing things you don’t really want to do?

Do you ever get still and ‘nonproductive’ simply for the sake of being still? Does that feel like wasted time for you? I’m sure everyone’s definition of wasted or nonproductive time is different.

When I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or stuck, one of my favorite things to do is to get up, take a cup of water or tea and go sit by a window for five minutes. As I stare out the window, I let whatever is out there fully capture my attention so that my mind is free from my worries for a few minutes. Things that especially settle my mind include birds, colors of the sky, clouds, or trees, and I’m happy to watch people or focus on building landscapes too. Better yet, sometimes I can step outside for a few minutes for some fresh air.

What if your situation doesn’t allow for walking away for five minutes? To lift your spirits you can always try the happiness practice I described in my last newsletter. Five minutes of recalling and reliving a happy moment or event will help you feel better fast. (Want to receive my newsletters? Sign up for the free ebook here and you’ll also get my newsletters!)

My five-minute breaks allow me to hit my reset button and then go back to what I was doing with a better attitude and more energy. I don’t consider these breaks nonproductive time. My productivity increases when I take regular short breaks because I become reenergized and refreshed. I highly recommend creating time for mini-breaks throughout your day as you are able.

But what if you feel guilty even thinking about taking five minutes away from your tasks? You may have long-held conscious or subconscious beliefs that only lazy people take breaks, years of old programs running learned in childhood, or that working long hours with no breaks is the best way to get ahead. That’s where EFT tapping will help.

To uncover and release any old beliefs that are no longer serving you is easy with tapping. Ask yourself what you are feeling in your body when you think about taking a break. It might be tightness in your gut or chest, nausea in your stomach, or some other feelings. Estimate the level of intensity of those sensations on a scale of 0 – 10 where 0 is no intensity at all and 10 is extremely intense.

If your intensity is high, start with tapping through all the points while simply talking in general about how you feel thinking about taking a break. Once you’ve taken the edge off, use the basic recipe to tap on the physical feelings that you notice. For example, your setup statement could be “Even though I feel this tightness in my stomach when I think about taking a break, I accept how I feel and I’m okay.

Your reminder statements at each of the tapping points could describe specifically what you are feeling and where you are feeling it. “This tightness in my stomach.

Once you’ve tapped a few rounds describing your feelings, notice anything else that comes to mind and estimate your level of intensity again. If you are still above a 3, or if you become aware of another sensation, continue tapping while describing exactly what you are feeling. Once you’ve tapped down the intensity as low as you can get it, think again about taking a break and notice how you feel. Did any emotions come up? If so, tap those down as well. And if not, maybe it’s okay now to allow yourself a short break without that nagging feeling of guilt.

Use tapping to approach feelings of guilt about self-care anytime you notice them. It may take 10 minutes, or it may take weeks or months to get to the root of the feelings. AND I promise it’s worth it. You’ll resolve many other seemingly unrelated issues on your journey to a more peaceful life.

Want to learn how to customize your tapping for your needs? Check out my book Emotional Freedom Techniques: The Art of Managing Stress Through EFT Tapping.

Keep Calm and Tap On!

Please remember: It's important to contact a professional if things feel too big for you, whether it be a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or certified EFT practitioner. Never discontinue your current medications without first consulting your doctor.