Time Well Wasted

Brad Paisley is one of my favorite country artists because his lyrics and melodies combine to tell compelling stories. 

His song Two People Fell in Love is a magical example of this skill. 

The title track from his 2005 album, Time Well Wasted, provides various examples of just that—time well wasted. 

When I was younger, I was not good at wasting time well.

  • I would skip playing basketball because I had a computer to fix. 
  • I would avoid hanging out with friends because I needed to mow my lawn.
  • I would postpone going on a hike until “things slowed down.”

It felt like the responsible and right thing to do.

Now I realize I was wrong. (There were times it was the right thing to do, but I was taking myself way too seriously most of the time.)

More Horse Than Automobile

During the 1920s, the automobile industry boomed in America, and in the mid-1950s, the Interstate Highway Act transformed how we experience time. 

For example, I live 600 miles from the town where I lived for the first 20 years of my life. I can drive there in under ten hours, and my car only needs to be “fed” once. 

I am no horse expert, but a quick Google search estimates the same trip would require 12-15 days on horseback, and the horse would need food and drink at regular intervals. 

Despite what our hyper-efficient, productivity-centered world wants me to believe, I am more horse than automobile. Most of my tasks take longer than I think they should, and I need more breaks and time to refresh than I often admit. 

Leading on Empty

I read Wayne Cordeiro’s Leading on Empty several years ago. Here is the passage that stood out to me:

“I couldn’t procrastinate any long. I need to grab myself by the shirt collar, sit myself down with pen and paper, and determine exactly (without guilt) which activities filled and replenished my emotional tank and which ones pulled the plug and drained me dry.” . . .

Here are the hard facts: The busier I became, the less time I had for activities that replenished me . . . You can get along for a while with “more drain than fill,” but it will eventually catch up with you.”

Time Well Wasted

I encourage you to follow Wayne’s advice. Pull out a piece of paper and write down six things that fill your emotional tank and six that drain your emotional reserves.

Because I was so bad at recognizing my emotions, identifying six of each has taken me a while. But I am making progress. Slowly. 

And then get busy Wasting Time Well on things that fill your tank emotionally.

Things that make you feel fully alive. These are things that you may have felt guilty about doing before. (Like I used to feel guilty for playing basketball.)  Things that make you the best version of yourself. 

So Tuesday’s Takeaway is: Get better at Wasting Time, Well. Your soul, family, friends, and coworkers will be glad you did. 


Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is the Chief Operating Officer for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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