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Is waiting a waste of time?

‘Time is money’, or so we are told.

Techno-philiacs Pete Nicholas
Figure Image
photo: iStock

In the West we have turned time into a commodity. We talk of ‘spending time’, ‘making up for lost time’ and ‘wasting time’ – all conveying the sense that it is a currency we trade in. In such a context one of the big draws of mobile devices is that they are ‘time-saving’, there to make our lives more efficient (where efficiency is productivity/time). So any moment that you are waiting, and therefore not maximising your productivity, your hand reaches for your phone to check your messages, emails, Facebook or Instagram account. And what’s the problem with this, after all, isn’t God in favour of productivity? Aren’t we told in Ephesians 5:16 to ‘make the best use of time’? While there are of course many verses in Scripture to warn against laziness, one of the casualties of our pursuit of saving time is the art of waiting well. Notwithstanding the fact that much of our frantic activity is actually not very productive (for example there are numerous studies that show multitasking is actually not as efficient as working on one task at a time), waiting time is not a waste of time.