Learning strategy, efficiency, effectiveness, and every other business buzz word does not guarantee time is being spent wisely. Building the best family, or company, or making all the money in the world also does not guarantee time is being spent wisely. In my opinion, the biggest time waster is what I will call "a band-aid". I am talking about covering up some problem, pain, or other unhealthy desire with something seemingly unrelated.
Imagine jumping through every hoop necessary to become a doctor. You finish school, you finish your residency, and you open your own practice. One day, when you have “arrived” in your career, you realize you hate it. Not only do you hate practicing medicine, but the day to day interaction with patients is outside of your personality type. You realize that you will never be happy as a doctor and decide to change careers. This is a true story that was relayed to me by a surgeon I know. I'm sure everyone told that person while they were in school, and when they opened their own practice, "keep going, it will be worth it in the end". In hindsight, I guess it wasn't. This was an expensive band-aid. The person was convinced that they wanted to be a surgeon, for the money, status, or some other reason, only to realize that none of those things satisfied him.
Band-aids can come in fancy wrappers. I have experienced this first hand while practicing martial arts. Martial arts are advertised as a healthy activity, teaching discipline and respect. Despite this, I would say that the majority of people I have met through martial arts, are attracted to it for unhealthy reasons. It takes strong motivation (often unhealthy motivation) to voluntarily practice something that can be so painful.
It's easy to identify someone that has a vice to cover up a problem. What is less obvious is when someone tries to cover the same problem by being ambitious in hobbies, work, and life. Both have a problem, but one is respected for his band-aid while the other is not. Ultimately, both would benefit by addressing the problem instead of trying to cover it up with more band-aids.
Most activities are not band-aids in and of themselves. It depends on the motivation behind the activity that makes it healthy for one person and unhealthy for another. Examine your own motivations. Are you pouring time and effort into something that doesn't make sense? Why?
Focusing on what is essential in life is not just a matter of figuring out how to best accomplish what you want. We need to understand why we want these things in the first place. Where did our goals and motivations come from? You could waste all of your time, even your whole life, trying to cover up wounds with band-aids. Or you could figure out how to heal them. Healing definitely makes more sense.