Wasting time, answers from Seneca

Life is fleeting. When you are young you don’t notice it, it seems to be infinite and the thought of death, marriage and kids or job seems to be so far away that one simply doesn’t care.

Slowly but surely, the kid starts becoming an adult and preoccupation arises. Time is not


infinite after all.

We continually keep living thou, as if we had all the time in the world, we are too distracted.

There is a big problem in everyone’s life and that is the time scarcity. Our most precious asset, an asset that cannot be regained, not even a millisecond for the entire money of all the people combined, is wasted carelessly.

More today than in any other era, time is scarce. There is just too much going on and we become distracted, we are always distracted. We have become so distracted that the interaction with fellow humans is becoming kind of weird. A cellphone is now more interesting than most people around us.


About two weeks ago I went with a group of friends I don’t personally knew to a cabin in the woods to spend the weekend. There was no signal in the area so we had to, talk. I realized how weird it was that everyone had to be in the conversation which was hoestly amazing and also was quite noticeable, when an awkward silence creeped in and the cellphone didn’t aid anybody in running from the confrontational awkward silence of which the cellphone offers the marvelous solution of just getting distracted with something else and not facing reality.

Our phones are just a part of the time scarcity problem. There is the job as well, the kids, the unfulfilled dreams. It seems like there is no time to do anything and so we end up doing nothing. I’m starting to glimpse a problem here. A problem which Seneca saw long time ago.

Continue to act thus, my dear Lucilius—set yourself
free for your own sake.


This time scarcity of ours, is a problem, and it should be treated as thus. A problem requires a solution. But, what is exactly the solution for this problem?

The problem of living a fulfilling life that is within our control is not an easy problem to solve, certainly. It requires sufficient courage to first acknowledge that it can be done and then setting yourself up to the task of claiming what is yours by birth.

Make yourself believe the truth of my words,—that
certain moments are torn from us, that some are gently removed, and that others glide beyond our reach. The most disgraceful kind of loss, however, is that due to carelessness.


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Someday is a detestable word. It gives the illusion (if used in that way) that there is going to be a time when something will magically happen. And then nothing happens. The funny and scary thing is that one day comes when you realize that time is not there anymore and start to realize that that someday might never happen if you don’t actually start to do something about it.

While we are postponing, life speeds by.



A recommended solution is a journal. There is no easy solution for managing and making use of your time. I don’t know how your life is and it certainly is extremely different from mine but what a journal will do is extend your memory and give you context.

If you’ve decided to hold on to your time, you’ll want to know what is your time going on.


We like to think that we know how we spend our days, but try writing in the journal your day’s activities and you’ll soon realize things in there that you hadn’t seen before.

Patterns of behavior, habits, useless activities. There is time enough in the day to meet all our someday dreams but you have to make it and you have to claim it. This is why journaling is such a great strategy, because it’ll give you information, information you can use to change what needs to be changed.

Personally, I believe what will best make you successful in claiming back your time is the decision to claim it.

Once the decision is made. You’ll need to strategize and work hard on it but remember.


What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily ? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death ; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years lie behind us are in death’s hands.


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