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Wasting Time Productively - Avoiding or Finding Your Way? Blog Feature
Lisa Rosenthal

By: Lisa Rosenthal on May 13th, 2014

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Wasting Time Productively - Avoiding or Finding Your Way?

Pamela Madsen | Procrastination

Wasting Time Productively - Avoiding or Finding Your Way?

wasting time productivelyWasting time productively may not be a new catchphrase. Or a new concept. Pamela Madsen, dear friend and fertility advocate used it the other day and it started occupying space and spinning around in my thoughts.


Why does it resonate so deeply for me?


What does it even mean?


Is it when I clean the kitchen but what really needs to be done is a PathtoFertility blog? Is it when I answer emails and what is more pressing is working on the Fertile Yoga calendar?


I think yes. Or at least yes for me, that is wasting time productively. I can honestly say that I am taking care of something that truly does need to be taken care of, at least at some time during the day. Dishes do need to be cleaned, emails do need to be answered, no question about that.


Wasting time productively ends up feeling vaguely unsatisfying though, and maybe that’s the major tip off when it’s happening. Yes, something important or necessary is being accomplished; no, it’s not the task that is actually supposed to be receiving my attention. That vague dissatisfaction tends to build up during the day, as I work hard and still, I am avoiding the items that are most crucial and so I don’t feel productive.


Ah. I just realized another word for the phrase “wasting time productively”. It’s called procrastination. Procrastination has a negative connotation, for good reason.


Here’s an online dictionary definition of procrastinate:


Procrastinate means putting off doing something until a future time. When people sit down to write term papers, they can find all kinds of clever ways to procrastinate: reorganizing the paperclips, calling everyone they know, typing "I am bored" fifty times in a row.

The verb procrastinate is from Latin prōcrāstināre, from prō-"forward" plus crāstinus "of tomorrow," from crās "tomorrow." Some synonyms are deferpostpone, and delay, though these words often apply to more positive reasons for inaction. The reason for procrastination is often assumed to be laziness, or just that the task or action is unpleasant and difficult to begin 

Procrastination and Its Bad Rap

The bad rap that procrastinating gets is in the heart of this definition, “The reason for procrastination is often assumed to be laziness, or just that the task or action is unpleasant and difficult to begin”.


So I will just own it. I procrastinate. I am not a recovering procrastinator. I am an active procrastinator. There are many things that I put off because I don’t like doing them.


Wasting time productively can have a slightly different spin though. I have come to realize that I don’t take care of things, especially details on the same time table that others often do. I read a great quote in a daily meditation book that I read every day that seemed to answer some of the questions brought up by wasting time productively. Or at least my version of procrastination.


“You must be before you can do. To accomplish much, be much. The doing must be the expression of being.”


My instinct is to slow down, to do less, even as I am encouraged and even pressured to do more, faster. It’s coming together though, that my leaning towards slower is not out of laziness. Rather it’s out of yearning for feeling my way into a state of being that I can recognize and honor and express through my actions.


A little less emphasis on doing and a little more appreciation for being. For quiet. For slower. For pausing before answering or speaking.


From this quieter place, I find that I become prepared for creative and productive action.


Opposite of wasting time productively.


Yep, I think that pretty much nails it.


What do you think? Can you tell me, share with me, what you do to productively waste time?



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About Lisa Rosenthal

Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.

Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.

Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.

Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.