As I usually do at the end of one year, and the beginning of the next, I have been thinking a lot about how I spent the year and what changes I want to make. I also looked through my time tracking data to see how much time I spent working and writing and working out. What I saw surprised me – I didn’t work as much as I would like. But I didn’t do as much of consciously chosen leisure activities as I would like either. I don’t track every minute of my time, especially time spent watching TV, travelling, doing little things around the house. And I suspect a lot of my time was used up in obvious ways. But I also suspect that I 'wasted' a lot of time that didn’t really register with me, on Facebook or playing a game, waiting for something, or in between activities. Which would be ok, not terribly bad, if it weren’t for something else. I felt like I didn’t have enough time for personal projects or meaningful leisure activities.
In an effort to work harder and move certain aspects of my career forward, I decided to embrace weekly thinking rather than daily thinking (something I learnt from 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam). This meant that I took the time to run important errands on a weekday or meet someone if that was the only time possible, and make up that time on the weekend. But this started to become a regular habit, and basically every day became a weekday – I took plenty of breaks, but no day completely off. Or I felt incredibly guilty if I did. Additionally, there were many things that I wanted to do that I didn’t give myself permission to indulge in, except very occasionally. I recently started dabbling with paints as a hobby, but seeing as this was clearly a leisure activity, I found it hard to do it when I could easily be sitting down and getting some work or house priority tackled instead. Besides, painting takes a lot of set-up and winding down time, so I could only do it in large chunks of time, which made it harder to justify.
|One of the leisure activities I made time for recently...|
In just over 10 days, I found a remarkable change in my attitude – I am happier, less annoyed with others and even less interested in dessert (a side benefit I didn’t see coming!). In fact recently, someone asked me if I was overwhelmed in my volunteer position, as the person supposed to be helping me was probably not going to be able to. I was surprised at her question, because I didn’t feel stressed at all.