How to Stop Wasting Your Life

By | April 15, 2022

[April 15, 2022]  Stop wasting your life.  Psychologists tell us that people typically operate at about half their total capacity.  Their studies indicate that most people waste about four to six hours per day.  That’s a hell of a lot of time being thrown away, which we could have put to better use.  As we all agree, using our lives for more productive activities is a step toward a more prosperous, fulfilling life.

We waste our time watching television, playing video games, drinking and drugging ourselves into a stupor, and, well, we know what wasted time is about.  And, the younger you are, the more negative impact wasted time has on us throughout our lifetime because our youth is the exact time for us to make investments in our future.

One important way to stop wasting your life is to learn to write.  The best thing we can do is learn to write because there is no difference between writing and thinking.  Those who can write will succeed in life at several magnitudes greater than everyone else.  Start writing, even if it is imperfect, even if it is bad writing with bad grammar and bad sentence structure.  Each day practice writing and you will improve radically over time.  You need to learn to write because writing forces you to think, which makes you act effectively.  Thinking makes you win the battles you undertake and those could be battles for good things.1

Also, make a schedule and stick to it.  Schedules must be seen as a plan for the day, not as a straightjacket to tie you down.  Most of us don’t like following a schedule because they make it too restrictive.  That is wrong.  A schedule is not a list of responsibilities, it is a manageable layout of those things you want to do that day.  Set your day up as if were the best possible day you could realistically create.  The rule is that, by the end of that day, you are better off than you were at the beginning.  Ultimately, your schedule is a negotiation with yourself to trade work today for a payoff tomorrow.

Reject making things consciously worse for yourself and others.  We all do this, and we do it because there are times we are spiteful, resentful, arrogant, deceitful, or maybe homicidal.  Get your act together.  It isn’t merely that your fate depends on whether or not you get your act together and to what degree you decide that you’re going to live out your own genuine being.  It isn’t only your life; it’s the fate of everyone that you’re networked with.  The things that you do or don’t do are far more critical than you think.

The alternative is a meaningless life with no responsibility.  You can then whine about your suffering and disastrous life, and maybe the only thing you gain from it is that people will feel sorry for you.  Taking this pathway as a martyr and rejecting responsibility (with its associated difficulties).  To live a pathological life, you pathologize your society and if enough people do that, then it’s hell on earth.2  To bear your burden of life properly and to live forthrightly.

No one can live well without a routine.  I recommend you get a routine going because you cannot be mentally healthy without it.  You need to pick a time to get up and go to bed and stick to it, otherwise you will screw up your circadian rhythms that regulate your mood.

Plan the life you would like to have and you do that partly by having a conversation with yourself.  Present to yourself the idea that you want a good life (not an easy task).  Often people don’t like themselves very much and, consequently, they beat themselves up for not fulfilling daily requirements and then procrastinating.  Such a pathetic and tedious way to spend your time.  One of the main reasons people don’t get what they want in their life is because they don’t figure out what they want.  The probability of getting what you want when you don’t specify your goals is precisely zero.  You will fail.  Figure out what you want and aim at it.

Take the time to reorient your life in every possible way to increase your chances that what you want will occur.  If you are willing to live in the world properly and not waste your time, and you know your goal and aim at it, you will be more than you can be.  You will be successful.


  1. Writing means formulating your arguments coherently and presenting your thoughts in a logical fashion, organized, and straightforward. If you can lay out a proposal, people will give you money, they give you opportunities, you have influence.
  2. If you choose this nihilistic alternative of no responsibility, you may take all your friends and family with you. Look at what happened in the 20th century, the hundreds of millions dead from the horror of the pathology of just a few countries.


Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

28 thoughts on “How to Stop Wasting Your Life

  1. Dog Man

    If only we would pay attention to what is written here. Be yourself, be focuses, know the truth and only speak the truth. Do not let hate and anger sow your way, for only thru others can you become more than you can be. Stop wasting your life, Gen. Satterfield is right on target.

  2. Army Captain

    Another powerful article from the intellect of Gen. Satterfield. Thank you, sir, for your powerful addition to human knowledge and the encouragement to adopt those behaviors we need to be better human beings.

    1. Bryan Z. Lee

      Great to hear from you Army Captain and to know you are still reading this leadership blog. Gen. Satterfield has recently been knocking these articles out of the park. He is nailing some of the biggest problems our young people face today. I only wish he would tackle the problem we have with our feckless politicians.

  3. Willie Strumburger

    Pow, got that right, “If you can lay out a proposal, people will give you money, they give you opportunities, you have influence.”

  4. Anya B.

    “Take the time to reorient your life in every possible way to increase your chances that what you want will occur. If you are willing to live in the world properly and not waste your time, and you know your goal and aim at it, you will be more than you can be. You will be successful.” GREAT ADVICE, Gen. Satterfield.

    1. American Girl

      In America, we have the freedom to chose what we will do with our lives but it also up to great leaders to convince those who want no responsibiliity that the best way to live is, in fact, by adopting responsibility. That is why America is such a great nation and why we can easily survive idiots like are currently in our government.

  5. Eye Cat

    I noticed that Gen. Satterfield now has about a week of exceptional articles on key elements to being a better person. Maybe he should put these into a book for folks. I think that would be very valuable. I’m older so maybe it could be of value to me but esp. to the younger generation that are scared to get out of their apt and live their lives. They are the ones you see inside their apts wearing masks.

    1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      … and driving cars alone wearing their masks…how to show that you are sucking up to the wannabe political tyrants.

  6. Tom Bushmaster

    Slightly off topic but if you have the time, go read this article. There is a connection to the philosophy of Gen. Satterfield. You’ll see it immediately … hint adopt responsibility.
    “The marriage delusion
    A new memoir describes it as “a slowly unfolding apocalypse”. Why are we so reluctant to reimagine matrimony?”
    By Johanna Thomas-Corr

        1. Laughing Monkey

          👍 This discussion is one of the reasons I like this senior leadership website so much. The leader forum is a place for polite discussion. If you want to get an idea out there, and you ask for comment, you will get it in spades. Good to have great intellectual readers ready to give feedback.

      1. Doug Smith

        Thanks for the reference Dale. Well done! OThers have highlighted similar articles more for us.

  7. Max Foster

    Set realistic goals. That will get you on the right track. 😊 The problem with this kind of advice is that we don’t often know what the ‘right track’ is for us. So many of our youth don’t know either and are easily sucked into the liberal/progressive/neo-Marxist ideology that says you are ‘wonderful’ if you don’t adopt responsibility and you just speak up. Trash ideology.

    1. Dennis Mathes

      True enough Max and the reason is that we have taken religion out of everything and have now become ANTI-Christian to boot.

  8. Rusty D

    Excellent article Gen. Satterfield. I like the part where you address ways to stop wasting your life. I recommend that you add a few more ways. One is to consciously remove obstacles that regularly pop up in life. Thanks Gen. Satterfield for making this such an excellent website.

      1. Linux Man

        Frank, yep, always great to get other perspectives but Gen. Satterfield has laid the foundation much better.

  9. Audrey

    Sounds like basement-dwelling college students at liberal colleges to me. Ha Ha. Keep your eye on the ball but make sure the ball is what you want because you’re stuck with it. Now, the snowflakes are going to have a big crash in their lives very soon.

      1. Harry Man

        Someone needs to lead our youth and it sure ain’t Joe Biden.

        1. Steve Dade

          … or Kammmmalllla Harris the ditz VP. What a dumb crew we have ‘leading’ the nation. We are being laughed at by the world and most of our youth don’t even know it. The King has no clothes on.

          1. Forrest Gump

            Let them crash! I say that because how else will they learn? Stupid is, as stupid does.

      2. Shawn C. Stolarz

        Each moment in life is to be cherished. Every stage of your life requires lessons to be learnt and decisions to be taken. Above all, waking up each day gives you another chance to prepare yourself for the future.


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