Internal Time Users*: Four Ways We Use Time

How did it get so late so soon? ― Dr. Seuss


Life is short. Why use up your time on things not important to you when you could be making the most of it?

The first step in maximizing your time is figuring out what your biggest time users are. In this article, we’ll cover common internal ways we squander time. That is, the time users we create for ourselves.

Here are the top internal time users. Do you do any of these? (You might also find External Time Users: Three Examples of How Others Use Our Time interesting.)

Negative Thinking

When things happen in a way we didn’t plan or want them, we start to think negatively. We focus on hindrances instead of anticipating positive results.

What? Anticipate positive results from something negative that’s happening? Yes! Negative circumstances will create positive results if you let them. When you have a positive mindset, you have a much better chance of getting a favorable result out of a negative situation. When you think negatively about a situation that at first appears undesireable, you’ll just get more negative results.

If the situation is unchangeable, accepting it the way it is and look to bring the best out of it.  Challenges will strengthen us if you let them.

At the very least you’ll enjoy life more if you don’t waste your time thinking negatively!

Lack of focus

Does your phone, computer, tablet, etc. regularly come alive with beeps and alerts? Rethink how important it is to receive all those distractions. Every time you look away from what you’re doing, it takes time to get back into the flow of your work. All those bits of time add up, but they’re very easily regained by muting your devices.

A lack of focus can use time in other ways, too. Do you start projects and not finish them? Sometimes, this is appropriate: You learn facts along the way, and those facts might make you conclude that whatever you started isn’t worth completing.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a solid reason for abandoning a project, maybe you didn’t have a solid reason to start it in the first place. If you’re easily diverted by something that seems brighter and shinier than what you’re already working on, consider whether it’s just a distraction and you should stay focused and complete what you started.


Dissatisfaction makes us complain. Or, more specifically, dissatisfaction creates excuses for us to complain. Perhaps sometimes griping about a service, product, or brand will help improve it, but more often than not, you’re just choosing to spend your precious time and energy on something that doesn’t make a meaningful difference to you or to others.

Does it really matter that your bag of potato chips was stale? Or would you be better off spending your time accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions? (remember those?)

Do you really want to spend the hour over coffee with your best friend who you rarely see kvetching about the bad service you just received, or would you rather talk about your hopes, dreams, or at the very least the cute guy or gal who just walked by?

When we complain, we stop the process for good things happening, if only in that moment.


Another huge time waster is gossiping. Some people may find it entertaining or a way to connect with others or even build rapport. But isn’t it a waste of time to ramble on about other people’s imperfections instead of sharing your personal experiences that could inspire others?

If you gossip because you think it will improve someone else, it won’t. If you really want to help, talk to that person kindly and directly instead of spreading negative things about him or her.

Time is precious. We can’t bring back the time we already spent, so make sure you spend your future time wisely and enjoy every moment!

Please share your tips below on saving time.

Other resources:

*I originally called this article “Internal Time Wasters,” but that felt unduly negative. After all, everything is an experience, so ultimately we just need to make choices about how to use our time and what experiences to have.


Internal Time Users*: Four Ways We Use Time — 1 Comment

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