10 ways to be a better person by wasting time

Be efficient, be productive, be a better person, be the WINNER!

All titles of articles which offer hacks 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 beast called procrastination and become THE WINNER OF LIFE!

At the same time, they are blinkers helping life pass right by.

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 have a chat with that unproductive and much more chilled person I used to be, to get some advice on wasting time successfully.

So here they are, 10 hacks to become a better person while wasting time.

LAUGH

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.

. Proven to boost your immune system, trigger the release of your endorphins and rid you of stress. The real enemy 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 and heal them, since laughter is medicine. and congratulations, you are a better person.

BE KIND

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 altogether. 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. You 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 special, and you need people. But what is more important, people also need you!

So be kind to your family, friends, neighbours and strangers. Help the people who need it, older people, homeless people, refugees. But ifyou are really 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 easily shut down in their own world, sometimes even slip 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 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 which we often miss from our own lives.

So if you find a page-turner or a 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 differently.

BE FRIENDS WITH YOUR FAMILY

I am friends with all of 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 know them better.

There is something enriching about understanding the people you came from, who made you who you are.

I come from a Mediterranian 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 member of your family 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

Dance it better than sex. Sex can be bad, dance can 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 of 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 actually 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 the joy in cooking, but we all like to eat.

We are, however, more than capable to suck the joy out of that too.

Rationing your carbs and sugars gives the illusion of controlling destiny. As a consequence, 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, four times) a week doesn’t make you a bad person. And if you eat it while binging the Office, I guarantee that you will be a better person!

PLAY

Climb a tree, jump in a lake, race your friends for no reason. Be 10 again, but not the ten-year-old who stares at a smartphone all day, be you. An old fashioned kid. Splash in puddles, 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!

CRY

Men don’t cry because it is a sign of weakness. Women don’t because they can’t afford to seem weak in front of men.

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, in the supermarket. The reasons are just as random.

Crying, much like laughter and dancing is healing. It releases that sweet oxytocin and endorphins that people pay good money to insert in their body 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.

DO NOTHING

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 ourself. Or we are drinking or finding other ways to ignore our inner life.

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 am I to give you meditation advice on top of everything. But yeah, ok this is basically meditation.

See how your mind works and what it comes up with when you are not distracting it with tasks and time management, you may be surprised 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.

Slowing down is nothing to feel guilty about.

You are literally making the world a better place.

Writer and translator, mostly interested in topics of culture, lifestyle, politics, history and religion. More of my work on