Like most people, I am afraid to ‘waste’ time. Time, to me, is what must elapse between the end of what I’m doing now and the beginning of what I want to do next. I will occasionally catch myself having devoted a considerable amount of time to a pursuit that doesn’t further my chances of accomplishing what I want or need to accomplish. For example, I’ll be playing a video game or watching television, and suddenly I’ll realize that hours have gone by and I have done nothing ‘productive’ with the time. Naturally, I will feel like that time has been ‘wasted’.

One way ‘productive’ can be defined is ‘having created something’. In that sense, I almost never produce anything, even when I’m not ‘wasting time’. During my free time, I am primarily a consumer, and my work consists of a lot of thinking, planning, and problem solving. In other words, it’s not very productive.

The closest I’ve come to producing something in the last several years is a small pile of written materials, most of which outline one or another procedure in computer networking. Given the fact that I didn’t invent these processes, I have to say that even those writings are just a rehashing of already well-known topics, not the creation of anything new. I haven’t built anything, and I haven’t grown anything.

So, if we define ‘productive’ as ‘having created something’, you could say I haven’t been very productive. Of course there’s another definition of ‘productive’ that’s commonly used. This definition is: ‘Yielding favorable or useful results; constructive’. I think this is what most people, myself included, mean when we say that we haven’t been ‘productive’. We haven’t done anything that yields useful results.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this definition solves any problems for me. It seems probable to me that Human Beings will one day become extinct. That is, unless we can colonize another habitable planet or create conditions on Earth that will allow us to live through the inevitable burning out of the sun. Sadly, when I look at our history, it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll accomplish this prior to killing each other off.

Call me cynical, but I have very little faith in Humans cooperating on a global scale, in spite of the fact that such cooperation will probably be necessary to accomplish whatever else is needed to perpetuate the existence of the Human Race. With this in mind, it seems likely that the only way I might accomplish something ‘useful’, is if I can contribute somehow to a change in the nature of Human Beings. And, since it is unlikely that I’d be able to accomplish such a feat, I have to conclude that there is nothing truly useful for me to do. Which brings me to the conclusion that as long as I’m enjoying what I’m doing at the moment, it is impossible for me to ‘waste time’.