Faced with some spare time, I’ve realized it is so much easier to consume vs. produce. And consumption often spends your resources much more quickly than production.
Things have been quiet at work for the last couple of weeks. This makes me very twitchy (I like to be busy), and leaves me with hours that I need to occupy. After accomplishing the obvious chores around the house, I was still stumped. So, I created a mental list of the things I could do with my time.
- Exercise: Go for a walk
- Entertainment: Go and watch a movie in the theater
- Shopping: Go shopping at TJ Maxx for some winter work out gear or to Macy’s for some work clothes
- Beauty: Get a manicure/pedicure
- Read a book/listen to one on Audible (For anyone who’s interested, here’s an affiliate link to the book I’m listening to right now. It’s the first such link I’ve inserted into a post. Let me know if you don’t approve in the comments below.)
I quickly realized that even after taking the no-cost walk in bracing 40 degree weather (yay me!), the remaining options included some kind of expenditure.
I’m relatively certain that my brain works like that of the average Millennial. And, other than some crafty maven who excels are crocheting three-piece suits with toothpicks in her/his spare time, most folks would probably come up with a list very similar to mine.
But, cast your mind back to when you were a kid and try to recreate the list your 10 year-old self would have written. Mine would look like this:
- Entertainment: Read book
- Creativity: Paint/Sketch
- Creativity: Write a story/novel/song
- Exercise: Play with my friends
- Entertainment: Watch TV
(Written in the order it popped into my head. I assume this is important because it’s what my brain thinks my 10 year-old self would have thought of first vs. last.)
The distinct difference between the two lists is that the former requires external stimuli (and in almost every case $$), while the latter does not. Somewhere along the line, I began to fill my life with stuff I could buy and consume rather than “do” or produce. Maybe that’s not you, and if so…hop to another article. But, if it is how you think as well, it might be time to reboot your options.
My rebooted list looks like this:
- Creativity: Draft and post an article to http://www.grasshopperretiresearly.com/
- Creativity: Sketch – it’s been about a million years since I last sketched – Baby G to see if I still have what it takes.
- Entertainment: Listen to my book on Audible. I actually have rather poor eye sight and try to protect my eyes by listening to – rather than physically reading – my books. e Readers that allow me to expand the words on a page to a bazillion times their printed size are also a major modern marvel.
- Beauty: Give myself a manicure/pedicure
- Exercise: Take my dog for a walk
In an interesting, and somewhat related article on the topic of occupying your time profitably http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/10/18/why-your-time-is-worth-way-more-than-25-per-hour/, Mr. Money Mustache suggests valuing time as a resource unto itself. Certain uses of time result in a lower return on investment than others. Build into that calculation the fact that some uses of your time can cost you money, and you realize that certain enterprises are not just a time-suck, but also have negative yield.
Now, I’m not a crazy person who zealously advocates against some good old time-sucks – a certain Grasshopper binge watching Poldark comes to mind – but I do think that being aware of a time-suck and limiting its siren call is half the battle. It’s like eating ice-cream once in a while, but actively substituting veggies into your diet as well.