An ongoing goal of mine is to be more present in life and spend time doing the things that really matter to me. However, I’ve been reflecting that there are things I’ve wasted too much time on in life. If, like me, you’re trying to live more intentionally then I’m going to share six things to stop wasting your time on.

6 Things To Stop Wasting Your Time On (To Live More Intentionally)

1. Worrying about what other people think of you

This took up the majority of my headspace in my 20s and 30s. It was mentally crippling and paralysed me from making decisions. It permeated most areas of my life – what I wore, what I ate, and who I hung out with. Part of my fear was of disappointing people and another was  of ‘failing’ in some way.

However, the reality is that you’re going to disappoint people throughout your life. You are going to make choices that others won’t agree with. This has happened to me and, guess what? The world didn’t end!

Over time, I realised that we can’t make decisions based on how we think other people will react – you could ask two people to help with a decision and they could have very different answers. Certainly, we can listen to people we trust and respect but ultimately the decisions are ours to make and are our responsibility. 

2. Listening to the “rules” from culture and society

There are lots of arbitrary rules “out there”. We might be unsure where exactly we hear them but they can create unrealistic expectations in ourselves. This includes things such as how we should dress, what we should eat, how we should carry ourselves in public, and who we should date.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m older but I give less of a monkeys about it nowadays. I feel I can be much more objective about it. I mean, who even makes these rules??

And, even if we knew who made them, the rules are based on their subjective opinions. They are not ‘the law’. The great thing about opinions is that they are ‘just’ opinions – we don’t have to agree or adhere to them!

3. Buying material things to fix internal problems

I was never a follower of fashion trends; I just liked what I liked. However, when I was younger I bought a lot of clothes which, on reflection, was a way of making myself feel better. I didn’t have great self-esteem and I wasn’t very confident.

Often, this excessive spending led to me not having much money at the end of the month, so I’d have to survive on my credit card. These ‘nice things’ made me feel better temporarily but soon enough I’d be back spending again. I didn’t recognise this pattern until many years afterwards.

So, if you find yourself in a cycle of spending, whether it’s clothes or other items, ask yourself “why?”. Are these items you genuinely need or is the spending a coping mechanism for a deeper problem?

4. Listening to your inner imposter

For years I had a strong inner voice that told me I was “not good enough”. There are things I’ve not pursued in my life and things I’ve put off doing because I didn’t think I was capable.

This belief of “not good enough” also manifested in studying for qualifications and doing lots of training courses. I don’t regret doing any of these things but certainly, there was something about proving I was “good enough”. The qualifications would gave me a momentary confirmation of my worth but the inner imposter would rear its head again over time.

The reality is, there are some things in life we’re not going to be able to do but often you don’t know unless you try. If it doesn’t work out, you can decide what to do next.

I can’t say that this voice has disappeared entirely, but these days I’m better at spotting when it rears its ugly head so that it doesn’t control my life.

5. People that should have been ‘let go’ sooner

I’m not perfect when it comes to friendships and relationships; I’ve made plenty of mistakes.

However, there were some situations where I should have walked away sooner. I felt I was making all the effort to maintain contact and not getting anything in return. I ended up thinking it must be my fault.

However, I do have some great friends. I don’t see them for months at a time but when we do meet it’s like we’re picking up where we left off. I cherish those friendships a lot.

I do think relationships and friendships need a level of work and effort, because life can throw up all sorts of hurdles and it’s easy to lose touch. However, if it feels as though you’re making all the effort, it might be time to have a chat with the person or, if that’s not possible, walk away and invest your energy into people who do put in the effort.

6. Not accepting yourself for who you are

This isn’t me saying that if I’ve acted like an idiot, people need to accept “It’s just who I am” and use it as an excuse to keep being an idiot!

This is about accepting myself for not necessarily fitting in, because there are times I don’t think I fit in. This can feel a bit weird but over time I’ve come to accept that that’s okay!

I’m a ‘boring’ person. I cook the same things throughout the week because I like them and it’s easier. I wear a small selection of the clothing I own because it’s comfortable and I can’t be bothered with having too many choices!

I don’t like busy places and I don’t enjoy wandering around bustling cities. I like finding a quiet coffee shop or café to take refuge. My favourite ever place to be is in nature or by the sea.

I’ve had people pull faces when I tell them this, perhaps because it doesn’t sound exciting to them. That’s fine; we all get our energy from different types of situations.

Accepting yourself for who you are doesn’t mean not working on yourself if you have things you want to improve. It means accepting that just because you’re different from people it doesn’t mean you are ‘less than’. We’re all unique in our own ways, as we should be.

I hope these tips have given you some ‘food for thought’ to stop wasting your time on things so you can live more intentionally. Let me know in the comments of any tips you have!