Three Degrees of Waste

Wasting Time by David Ho

…stop wasting my time

In a moment of anger recently I declared my detestment of time wasting perpetrated by countless people around me – and I’m sure myself sometimes. I’ve classified time wasting into 3 degrees in order to better moderate the degree of anger to express when enduring waste

Level 1 – Wasting your own time

This is me watching someone walk around in circles or repeat the same mistake, or employing the same wasteful algorithm over an over again bewildered as to why they continue to fail and/or never have enough time. I find those afraid of risk and the unknown will often stifle their own progress by wasting their time on tasks of little importance to their overall success. This waste is least annoying to me, though still something I avoid lest it be contagious.

Additional examples include almost all instances of ‘escapism’ or ‘mind numbing’ – these typically are little more than a waste of the persons valuable time. Beware also of those that spend obscenely inappropriate amounts of time dealing with small matters and transactions.

Level 2 My Time and Yours

This generally occurs when someone talks to me without any reason, or due to lack of confidence or clarity can’t for the life of them stick to the relevant points. It can also be someone who doesn’t yet understand what sort of opportunities are worth investing time in and passionately, albeit naively, believes it’s going to be massively successful. It’s less aggravating when the perpetrator is approaching me with an opportunity they’ve tried to cater to my current resources and skill sets, nonetheless their inexperience is wasting both my time and theirs in the interaction and that raises my blood pressure several points over a level one infraction. That particular flavor of waste only becomes offensive to me after the 2nd or 3rd occurance in a short period of time.

I try my best to accommodate other peoples level of experience and their perspective when dealing with this waste but I often run out of energy and time – “Use your damn brain” I think – “does it fundamentally make sense or not?!” – “did you even consider that before you filled my ear with your blabbering over the last 20 minutes?” – “business is about dollars and cents – don’t let your emotions make you forget that – love and cookies don’t buy the necessities of life.”

Level 3 My time and yours – now and later

This one, I cannot deny, really tests my patience. This sort of waste I define as when someone wastes the time of both parties during the time of the interaction (there really was no need for nor benefit gained in the interaction and the direct consequence of the interaction requires more wasted time in the future for one or both parties.

A great example is customer demanding work to be done that is unnecessary only to realize later it needs to be undone – thus extending the waste beyond the confines of the original interaction and required work. You may also experience this sensation when enduring a meeting with a menial agenda that brings about no tangible benefit and then being forced into an additional encounter because the incompetant, arrogant, naive, or otherwise handicapped organizer feels his valueless agenda has value. It’s a bit of a stretch :-) . People that unneccessarily extend the time necessary to complete a task or communicate something that directly results in additional waste later enjoy open hostility from me after a few offenses – unless they’re paying me lots of money. In that case I’ll endure three such occurrences of this level of time wasting before erupting like mount St. Helen

Stick to the point – say what you need to say then shut up – do the things you need to do, stop putting your brain in hibernate and performing unimportant tasks that are less stressful or risky. God forbid you repeatedly offend me to the third degree as I’ll not be held responsible for the words that come out of my mouth at that point.