Habits Productivity

3 Things You Will Regret When Wasting Time Online

By FocusMe Team on 09 August 2017

How You Could Be Better Spending Your Time


Although Tim Berners Lee invented the internet in 1991, it was still a few years before the public had an opportunity to use it.

The internet started to take off in 1994 and has grown ever since to become the giant it is today. Many people argue that it is essential for 21st Century living.

Like most people, though, you probably have some regrets about wasting time online. There are so many more useful things you could be doing with your life.

Economist Joshua Kennon acknowledges that many of our life’s outcomes occur because of events beyond our control. However, he believes the ultimate quality of our life depends on two controllable “buckets” of value. One, obviously, is money. This “bucket” contains every dollar that goes through our hands, and we have multiple opportunities over our lifetime to determine what to do with that money.

Kennon’s second “bucket” is time; “the 525,600 minutes of time given to you every year by God or the universe”.


While there are some innate limitations we all have to work around, ultimately the success of our life depends on how well we manage our two buckets.

We may not know how many years we have ahead of us, but those 525,600 yearly minutes are a fixed number. Every minute wasted is a minute lost forever.

Wouldn’t it be better to spend as much of our fixed time working towards our lifetime goals and aims as possible?

How LeBron James Follows His Dreams Rather Than Wasting His Time:

LeBron James has always used his mind to push himself towards his goal of being the world’s best basketball player. He wanted to be in the basketball video games, rather than simply playing those games.

Download our Free Case Study

I am sure that Berners Lee and his fellow data scientists thought they were improving mankind when they invented the internet.

Similarly, the inventors of email and social media probably thought they were saving people time.

The reality is that people now spend hours trawling through seemingly endless Facebook notifications and checking hundreds, if not thousands, of emails that flood their inboxes every day. They search elusively for the wittiest meme, the most adorable puppy, and the most embarrassing prank. They take videos on their smartphones of their children eating breakfast and post them as proud parents for the world to see. Yet, at the same time, they hope their teenagers haven’t posted embarrassing photos of themselves for a worldwide audience.

So what are some of the things you unconsciously regret when you are wasting time online?

1. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

FOMO is potentially dangerous because it can work in two ways:

  • You keep returning to the internet because you have Digital FOMO and don’t want to find you have missed some possibly important piece of news, gossip, email, or even the next viral video.
  • Because you are continually sneaking that phone out, or spending long hours on the laptop, you are missing out on offline activities. By indulging your craving for an online fix and reducing your online FOMO you are actually increasing your offline FOMO. And remember that life clock is incessantly ticking away.

What are you missing out on by spending too much time online?

You are missing out on meeting, spending time with, and enjoying the company of new friends – not “Friends,” in the social media sense, who you may not really know at all. The television show, Catfish, exists simply because people rely on online “friendships” over genuine relationships.

Spending too much time online limits your chance to physically spend quality time with real people and improve those relationships.

While online dating, and even Tinder, may have some genuine place in helping shy people to meet potential partners to date, the relationship will go nowhere if you then spend all of your time online, never truly exploring and learning about the real person.

Do you want to miss out on your children’s development as they progress through life? Imagine how your child would feel if he or she scored the winning goal in a soccer game, only to look around to see you engrossed in your phone, rather than paying attention to them during their moment of glory. Kids grow up so quickly, and if you’re distracted by the cyber world, you may miss important stages, such as seeing your toddler’s first step or hearing their first word.

shutterstock_543405526 (600 x 400).jpg

2. Missing Out on Your Bucket List

Most people have heard of the concept of a bucket list. This is a list of all the experiences or achievements that you hope to have or accomplish during the rest of your lifetime.

The big problem is that if you spend too much time wasting time online you are not doing anything towards actually accomplishing the things on your bucket list.

The number of items you can realistically put on your bucket list will, of course, be affected by your current age, but you should always stretch yourself.

A typical bucket list could consist of:

  • 25 Things I Want Before I Die
  • 25 Things To Do Before I Die
  • 25 Places To See Before I Die
  • 25 Ways I Can Make The World a Better Place

Sure, you can see amazing things on your computer or phone screen, but it’s not the same as actually being there. You can’t smell the salt of the ocean as you take your first surfing lesson, or feel the wind sweeping past your face as you take that scary but awe-inspiring bungee jump above a 200-foot canyon.

As spectacular as the Eiffel Tower may appear on your screen, it is no match to standing atop the tower and looking down on the Champ de Mars below.

When you look back on life on your deathbed, will you remember the sights and sounds you’ve seen and heard online, shared by somebody else? Or will you remember the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings you have experienced yourself?

shutterstock_293119943 (600 x 398).jpg

Now, remember, Joshua Kennon, his two buckets, and his 525,600 minutes of time per year. While you will need to sleep about 1/3 of these minutes, you could use the remaining 2/3 working through the steps needed to advance you through your bucket list.

This includes the time you spend earning the money you need to achieve your goals. While earning money at your job and socializing with your partner probably help you move forward, does checking your email for the twelfth time today and playing a few more levels of Candy Crush Saga do any good?

How LeBron James Follows His Dreams Rather Than Wasting His Time

Download our Free Case Study

3. Missing Out on Things That Provide Genuine Personal Value or Value to Others

One of the problems with the phrase “wasting time” is that it is a value judgment. We all have different opinions as to whether something is valuable or a waste of time.

Trent Hamm, in The Simple Dollar, tells the tale of walking past a teenage boy lovingly sandpapering his skateboard. Hamm was impressed by the boy’s dedication and craftsmanship. Suddenly the boy’s father called out, “Are you still wasting time on that stupid skateboard?” and promptly kicked the skateboard. Clearly, father and son had different values and different views on what represented a waste of time.

There are many times when the internet provides great benefit and personal value. It is an amazing resource of information—larger than the world’s greatest library. For short periods of time, the internet can even help people to relax and de-stress. It also does a good job in helping you to keep in contact with people who are not nearby.

If you spend too much time using it though, you get to the point where you are missing out doing those things that give you (or people you care about) genuine value.

When it comes down to it, a little wasted time may not be a bad thing. We all need to recharge our batteries and re-energize our minds at times. But there does come a point when you need to regain focus and stop being distracted , no matter how cute those kittens climbing the curtains really are.

Right now in this very moment, you are online. You’ve probably just spent five minutes of your valuable time reading this article. Hopefully, you have gained value from those five minutes though.

You have 525,595 minutes over the next year to achieve a breakthrough goal towards meeting your dreams. Use that time wisely.

How LeBron James Follows His Dreams Rather Than Wasting His Time

Download our Free Case Study