Using Time Wisely
Jul 12, 2019 03:49PM
By Terry Chriswell
Recently, I was telling someone that I spent 10 hours on a Saturday playing a video game - a very fun, complex, role-based game where you uncover hidden treasures, solve puzzles and yes, fight orcs and dragons. I felt so guilty telling her my truth, because I already know most people would judge it as a waste of time. She told me I was avoiding life.
But then I wondered: what about life am I avoiding?
I could have turned off the game after two hours and worked on my book revisions; I could have updated QuickBooks; I could have cleaned the house. I could have checked tasks off my to-do list – but darn it, I wanted time away from all that productivity.
What if I had spent 10 hours meditating, or laying in a hammock with a book and losing myself in a long nap? Is that avoiding life? I think the response would have been much different. How is it possible that we fill our days with work, and then feel guilty when we _____ (fill in your guilty pleasure here) that makes us happy?
There’s a not-so-subtle pressure to do more with your time – increase productivity, work harder, accomplish more. Achieving goals are certainly important to our happiness, don’t get me wrong. But isn’t fun just as important to the equation? While I love my friend and trust her advice, I also think she’s never experienced the thrill of playing a video game.
Instead, let’s decide to use our time more wisely:
1. Transmute your guilt. When you start to feel guilty about what you are doing, take a step back and ask yourself where the guilt is coming from. Is it the voice of a parent or boss? Does it cross your mind that everyone would think what you are doing is a waste of time? If you are letting possible future judgement hold you back from enjoying whatever you wish to do for whatever time you wish to do it, remind yourself that it’s your life. No one is going to live it the way you do.
2. Take back your time. Decline invitations to events or with people you no longer enjoy. You don’t have to give a reason. We often feel we have to defend our right to say, “No” with a lot of excuses. It’s really empowering to say, “No thanks, I’m not interested” and that’s your final word on the subject.
3. Take unneeded pressure off by simplifying your life. For instance, I just donated books I’ve been holding onto for years I meant to read but never did; games we no longer play; clothes that don’t make me feel good; jewelry I don’t wear; and objects I don’t use. We keep a box by the door, add to it over the course of a week or two, and then next time we go by a donation collection center, we drop it off.
4. Everything has a purpose. Consider that no matter what you are doing or not, there is a divine plan in place in which every single moment of your life builds on your future. For instance, video games and movies provide great inspiration for my writing. Playing the video game is a wonderful, deep, bonding experience with Doug since we’re on the same team strategizing.
5. “What am I enjoying about this moment?” is a great question to ask yourself. If you can’t find your bliss, then by all means, clean the house or something. Otherwise, if you are happy, you are using your time wisely.
Terry Chriswell is the publisher of Mile High Natural Awakenings and the author of the soon-to-be-published book, Moving Toward Happy. She can be reached at [email protected]