We all do things that we know that we shouldn’t, be they health, financial or social things. Sometimes they’re things that we abhor in others, and think that they don’t notice us doing. Sometimes they’re things that we even bullshit ourselves into ‘believing’ that we don’t do them.
This list isn’t quite the same as that. Instead it’s a list of things that I definitely do which are not only a waste of my time, and other people’s time, but they are easily fixed and frankly embarrassing that they are still an active part of my life.
Disclaimer: There’s nothing racy, dirty, disgusting or controversial here. That may mean to many people who know me that it’s an incomplete list therefore, but, one step at a time.
1. Buying Books
I own, without any exaggeration whatsoever, around 1000 books that I am yet to read. In fact, I would put that estimate higher, except that I can’t remember how many books are in the attic. I have always loved books. From the inherent value of the ideas, feelings and information within the pages, to the tactile nature of the bound paper itself. I’m also a book poseur, and I love to be surrounded by books. And I am. Surrounded that is. So, I am not going to buy any more books until I have made a serious dent in the ones I own, and given away or sold a goodly amount of them thereafter. Plus, we have libraries. And I know plenty of people who own books I don’t own, and people (generally) like to share books.
2. Holding Grudges
I am not terrible about this, especially not since I have gotten a bit older and realised that most shit doesn’t matter, but I still do it. Usually it’s over very tiny things, which I am over-playing in my mind, and will forget about anyway but, for that brief moment at least, I decide to be annoyed at someone for having ‘done it’. I even, pathetically, do this to myself. It’s when I transgress my own sensibilities and do something I wish I hadn’t and decide that I’m going to punish myself in some way. Not physically, although it’s not a bad idea. So, no grudges, or sulking either.
3. Posting Comments on Facebook
There is little to recommend the person that posts frequent comments on other people’s Facebook posts. I don’t mind getting comments generally, but that’s because it happens with slim regularity from my modest group of ‘friends’. The person who posts tremendously sharp, witty and often snarky comments on peoples posts, announcements, photos etc all the time is a tool. I fear that I am likely to be approaching, or already be, that tool. I use Facebook infrequently enough to find it an often pleasant diversion so won’t remove myself entirely, even though that may be a godsend for some people.
Kidding myself into thinking that I’ve got just one more thing to do before I get on with this more important thing. It happens all the time and when I’m in bed, having wasted another evening, I bloody curse myself for it. The old adage is that ‘There’s no time like the present’ and that is absolutely true. Just get on with it and get it done. Or, at least start it. Once you’ve started it then there’s less to do. I berate other people in just this manner and it’s time I started taking a dose of my own medicine.
5. Buying Lunch
All the flipping time. £5 here. £7 there. £9 someplace else. It takes a little organisation and there’s no need to go and buy lunch everyday, but I fail constantly in this. I never used to though, and I had much better lunches, and had much more money as a result. I rarely enjoy the lunches I buy either, which is a double-whammy. When I worked in Bristol and could go to the Real Olive Company it was great. Pricey, but great. It’s fine to sit in a cafe now and again and chill out for lunch, but pasties and sandwiches are too often rubbish that costs too much and tastes too little.
6. Spending Money on Crap
See ‘Buying Lunch’. But, not only this, it’s the fallacy of consumerism as verification of success and achievement. Even at a low level this happens and you find yourself wading through things you didn’t want that you bought with money you can’t afford to waste. Books are a primary example of this, but they aren’t quite crap. Other than this it’s the extra things that you say to yourself ‘It’s only a few quid’, but do it so regularly that you’re actually storing up landfill, and paying through the nose to support it. I plan to try to only spend money on doing things with people I like.
7. Staying up late
I am 34. I am not 19. Therefore I get more tired than I used to, and that is a fact. I used to watch a film at 8pm, put on another at 10pm, and even another at 12pm. I often used to survive on 4-6 hours sleep per night. But I can now barely function by the end of the week if I go to bed after 11pm for more than 3 nights in a row. Also, I do this because I value my leisure time and resent using it up with sleep, just so that I can be more wide awake for work the next day. It’s my time and I want it! Work it out and the answer is nothing to do with staying up, it’s to do with not valuing what I’m storing the sleep up for, so that’s what needs to change, now get to bed.
8. Eating Crap
I never used to do this, at all. Not that my body was temple or anything. I just realised that I was not one of the lucky people who could eat whatever they wanted and, instead, decided not to eat fatty and sugary things, because it would be a ballache to burn it all off again. But, since having the kids I’ve noticed, I eat rubbish. A biscuit here, cake there, bread all over the place. Not so bad if you’re burning it all off, but I am certainly not doing this. The answer is to do a lot more exercise but, really, I don’t even enjoy eating it all that much. I love a custard cream now and again, of course, but it’s just become a habit, and a rubbish one at that.
9. Dropping Phone Calls
This is easy to remedy, you would think. It falls kind of into the Prevarication camp in a way, in that I convince myself that I’m too busy to take the call. I am NEVER too busy. It actually boils down to me not being sure what the person wants, or what I’ll say, so I avoid it. What a stupid thing to do. Sure, sometimes I genuinely do miss the call, and sometimes it seems too late in the evening to call back, and then I forget and blahdy blah blah. A bit more effort, that’s all it takes.
10. Making Life Harder for Myself and Others.
Almost all of the above boil down to this. By trying to make life just a bit easier I will, by definition, stop doing the daft things above. Stop spending money on things I don’t need and there’s more money for things I do. Get on with stuff I should/could be doing and there will be more interested and happy people around. Stop being a dick about things, and the same should happen. It’s not world shattering stuff, but it seems rather easy to do, so why not just do it?