How to Waste Your Life

1. Check email obsessively, with the same urgency as if you had a friend who went up in the space shuttle and you want to make sure he landed okay. Don’t answer any messages right away. Instead let them pile up in your inbox and plague you.

2. Answer the phone every time it rings, or at least check to see who’s calling.

3. Read the first paragraph of dozens of news stories throughout the day. Email interesting ones to friends. Click on any link anyone sends you.

4. Make sure whenever you’re working you’re also partly not working (i.e., still checking email/yahoo news, voicemail, worrying about some social event that night) and make sure whenever you’re having fun you’re still partly not having fun (i.e., checking email/yahoo news, voicemail, fretting over a big project due tomorrow). In short, make sure wherever you are you're not there.

5. Snap pictures of anything that might look cool to post on Facebook. Never lose a moment and most importantly never lose yourself in one.

6. Use any free time you are given to complain about how busy you are and much you have to do.

7. Defer dreams indefinitely.

8. Always say "yes" when you want to say "no" (and vice versa).

9. Take no responsibility for decisions that you make. Blame your bad mood and lack of time on your job, your boss, demanding friends, selfish neighbors, overbearing parents, dumb teachers, bad luck. Make no real effort to change anything.

10. Text someone whenever you have an in-between moment, like walking outside or waiting in a bar.

11. Make sure your major life priorities are the last things you tackle each day, if you tackle them at all.

12. Give the most important people in your life the least amount of attention.

13. Whenever you get a chance in conversation, no matter how off-topic or tangential, point out that you rarely watch TV. If someone says, "That reminds me of Seinfeld" or "There was this great song on So You Think You Can Dance last night," make sure you slip it in there.

(Did you ever notice that the people who are so quick to point out they “hardly ever” watch TV aren't the same people who don’t own one? If you don’t watch, why do you have cable? What is the point? How is "only watching Netflix" superior? Do you only rent Italian art films and watch the "Bonus Feature" critical analyses first? I also wonder what it is they are doing with all that free time. Surely they must be on their way to writing the Great American Novel or proving the Riemann Hypothesis?)

Of course most of this is just advice to myself. Or to my shadow. Paraphrasing Jung – whatever annoys you to an irrational degree in someone else is either something that annoys you about yourself or an undeveloped part of yourself (someone correct me if I'm wrong). And part of the problem is, to quote my friend Ivan, "Having all kinds of fantasies around time.” I inherited this trait from my dad. Thinking--really believing, no matter how many times we've proven otherwise--that we can fit every single thing in. The persistence of fantasy. My mom and sister are more realistic; plus neither gets the adrenaline rush thrill we get of almost just missing a train or pulling up to the Post Office closing on April 15. My father perhaps takes this the furthest: when he worked with his friend Alan at City College back in the 60s he was late every day to pick Alan up on the way to work. Why? Because it took “no time at all” to drive from East 83rd street to West 103rd. So he left himself no time at all to get there.


  1. Hehe, I must be doing okay. Only one that hugely applies to me is the email check. I am so bloody important I must check my Inbox at any given opportunity. My mobile phone is rarely turned on, and when it is it's generally one bar from battery being flat so it runs out anyway. If I'm not watching your show on tele, I would've been watching a different one. Oh, I do struggle saying no though. Prob why I don't answer the phone hahahaha. And yep, ALWAYS late. To everything. 'Cause it only takes five minutes to get there.

  2. Love this...I hate people who jump for the phone no matter what...but as a STAHM with 2 babies, I'm loathe to admit how often I'm checking online!

  3. AHHHH , I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS BLOG, I'M SO BUSY. My in-depth analytical commentary has to be curtailed by my lack of time and prohibitively busy schedule. I must go now. I need to go get pissed off about how much work I have to do, then prove to the internet world I have a much keener sense of finding breath-taking sunsets and finding magical shapes out of dog poop than anyone else in this world, (looking down at my smart phone, reading text ......)

  4. Haha...I am so guilty of much of this. I'm reading this as I dial in to a boring conference call. Getting a neck cramp holding the phone and typing.

  5. haha - not only do i love this entry, but i love what alex wrote!

  6. Hein, I don't have time neither for compliments nor to show gratidute!!!!

  7. Nor do I have time to spellcheck or proper grammah..

  8. This post is fucking brilliant. Thank you, Rach.

  9. Well it's official: I am completely wasting my life. How did it come to this? Also under #9 can we add "blame living in New York"? And under #1 can we add "spend many valuable working hours responding promptly to emails that have the absolute least significance to your life. Then let the real ones pile up and plague you"? And can we just have a moment of silence for #7 and #11, or at least a good cry? Why don't I cry any more, about any of this?


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