I Was Addicted To Saving Time. How I Learned To “Lose It.”

How wrong have I been! I’ve been searching for fulfillment in all the wrong places!

I came across a quote today which hit me like a ton of bricks:

“May I venture at this point to state the greatest, the most important, the most useful rule of education? It is: Do not save time, but lose it.”

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Emile, or On Education

This quote is from the Emile, or On Education written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1762. It would later serve as the inspiration for what became a new national system of education in France.

Emile, or On Education “provides the philosophical groundwork for a radical critique of the contemporary cultural framework that supports homework, standardized testing, and the competitive extracurricular activities that consume children’s time” (Wiley Online Library).

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Journal entry on the idea of losing time.

For years I’ve been trying to figure out how to “save time”.

I follow YouTube channels and read books about productivity. And I complain to mother nature why she only gave us 24 hours in a day.

I need to work, I need to study, I need to spend time with my partner, I need to follow the stock market, I need to clean, etc. But the guilty feeling if I am not doing anything, is the worst.

It’s no wonder I feel this way though. I remember my science middle school teacher telling me that I would burn out if I kept trying so hard in school. In high school, I had all AP classes. In college, I studied Architecture, where the motto was “sleep is a privilege, not a right.”

In other words, I’ve always been busy, with no time to not do anything.

So what did Rousseau mean by that we should try to “lose time”. In my view, examples of losing time would be: taking random walks, meditating, or staring silently into space.

The funny thing is that taking walks, meditating, and being bored is exactly the medicine I need for my mental health.

I used to tell myself I had no time to meditate, until I read this in Tim Ferris’ book Tools of Titans:

“If you don’t have 10 minutes, you don’t have a life… don’t have 20 minutes to delve into yourself through meditation, then that means you need 2 hours”

— Russell Simmons

That quote by Russell Simmons is what first made me realize I was doing something wrong.

Take note, to “lose time” and to “waste time” (ex. playing video games), is not the same thing.

When we “lose time”, is when gain focus, we get our best ideas, and we reconnect with ourselves and our surroundings.

I challenge you to be brave enough to start “losing time” with me. It is not easy, as trying to “save time” is an addiction.

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