Coffee heat rising

20 Great Time-Wasters of My Life

Hah! Scored an amazing 219,400 points on Bookworm before one of the flaming tiles reached the bottom row. Two of the astonishing words formed during this time-killing jag racked up more than 3,000 points apiece.

Amazing, indeed. Amazing waste of time. I justify it by theorizing that I need a break after having made it half-way through 439 of the most boring, pointless, annoying pages of copy I have ever edited in my life. We all need a break now and then, right?

Of course, I could’ve taken a break by trimming the dead roses off the plants, maybe making way for a new bloom before the heat gets too impossible.

Does it ever seem to you that there are altogether too many time-wasting phenomena in your life? When you come to the end of the day and you haven’t gotten a heck of a lot done but you think you’ve been sorta busy, what have you been doing? Here are a few explanations on my list:

  1. Bookworm
  2. Mah Jong
  3. USA Today Crosswords
  4. Uncle Jay Explains the News
  5. Boomshine
  7. StumbleUpon
  8. Checking the stock market
  9. Cleaning house (doesn’t do any good: it just gets dirty again!)
  10. Driving (risking your life while waiting to get from Point A to Point B)
  11. Reading the vitriolic commentary on the local Play-Nooz
  12. Trying to teach students what a comma splice is
  13. BlackBoard Academic Suite, the single greatest time-consumer known to humankind, guaranteed to cut your pay rate from $15/hour to 15¢/hour
  14. Navigating punch-a-button telephone mazes
  15. Trying to comprehend bureaucratic rules
  16. Talking to bureaucrats who don’t understand their own bureaucracy’s rules
  17. Tracking too many bank and brokerage accounts
  18. Waiting for a pan to fill under one of those accursed water-conserving faucets
  19. Checking blog stats
  20. Figuring out workarounds in HTML and various programs to make things happen the way I wish.

Most of these, I’m afraid, are self-inflicted time-wasters, though I decline to take responsibility for phone trees, opaque bureaucrats, online courseware that operates at the speed of a galloping snail, and misguided “good”-for-the-environment plumbing inventions.

What wastes your time?

10 thoughts on “20 Great Time-Wasters of My Life”

  1. Wow, it had crossed my mind to ask people how they waste their time. I waste mine working on my Freecell percentage (how sad is that?). Also, hate to say it, trying to follow too many blogs. I would get more done if it would just turn off the computer. Good post.

  2. Freecell! Yes! I’d forgotten about it because the Mac doesn’t have it. I used to kill untold numbers of hours with Freecell at the office.

    Did you know that you can achieve a 100% win score by always saving a Freecell game when you quit? When you realize you’re losing, instead of closing, go alt-GS to save the game. Then just start a new game; lose that–save it, overwriting the previous saved loser. Freecell doesn’t register saved games as wins or loses. So the only scores it will track will be wins.

    I’m afraid blog and blog-cruising also consume way too much of my time. As does keeping the vast tide of e-mail under control. Blogging has an addictive quality…I find it difficult to resist.

  3. 1) Telemarketers
    2) meetings with ‘great’ ideas that really go nowhere
    3) Solitaire
    4) having to reformat old documents when the software has been changed and upgraded
    5) Trying to explain to my husband why I often have to do schoolwork in the evenings/weekends/summer.

  4. Well, I don’t check too many blogs anymore. And I seldom read comments. As for Blackboard–it has been very messed up this year. Like when you send your students an email and it doesn’t send it.

  5. I take so much joy in knowing that there is someone else out there in this personal finance blog world that is also obsessed with bookworm. I love that game more than any other.

  6. @ Danielle: 😀 Hypnotic, isn’t it?

    @ frugalscholar: Is your school upgrading to BB 9 this year? Augh! Two training sessions next week, and that’s just the start! Apparently it’s hugely transformed.

  7. Jolie pointed out meetings. . .back when I was working, I didn’t let meetings waste my time. I always brought something ‘useful’ to do. . . occasionally, I’d bring a time-waster, like a cross word for my unruly colleagues who made too much noise when unoccupied during meetings . . .what a world.

    My time wasters: housecleaning is a biggy for me–but I like it and my house is perpetually clean. . .at least it’s not a computer game 😉

    And any overly technical thing you try to make for teaching purposes–blackboard, super websites, fancy powerpoints . . as you state, a good way to lower your hourly wage.

  8. This is embarrassing – in spite of my college education and 75 years of life – I don’t know what t comma splice is. Help!

  9. @ Ellen: LOL! That’s OK…neither do about 60% of the published mystery writers whose works I’ve been editing. 😀

    A comma splice happens when you join two independent clauses (i.e., utterances that could stand on their own as two separate sentences) with just a comma. In the world of the Schoolmarm, this is a capital crime. Or maybe a capitol crime…if there is such a thing.


    Joe saw Jane at the corner Starbucks, he asked her out for dinner.

    The two parts of this critter can stand on their own:

    Joe saw Jane at the corner Starbucks. He asked her out for dinner.

    Because of that, they can’t be joined with just a comma; it’s like joining two live wires by just twisting together the ends. Whatever you do, don’t plug it in! The fixes are as follows:

    –> Joe saw Jane at the corner Starbucks. He asked her out for dinner. (Two stand-alone sentences)

    –> Joe saw Jane at the corner Starbucks, and he asked her out for dinner. (Comma and a coordinating conjunction)

    –> Joe saw Jane at the corner Starbucks; he asked her out for dinner. (Semicolon)

    –> When Joe saw Jane at the corner Starbucks, he asked her out for dinner. (Subordinate one idea to the other.)

    The only solution that’s not a legit choice in Schoolmarmland is the pure, unadorned comma.

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