When I finished my most recent job about six weeks ago now, I was determined to make the most of the time I now had.
I started to make a list of all of those activities that I wanted to complete. After all, who knew how long this would last for, right? Better make the most of it – that was my thinking, anyway.
When I thought about it, I realised I’d been compiling in my mind a huge list of ‘some day’ activities:
- systems I wanted to introduce to my life
- changes I wanted to make at home and personally
- sets of skills I wished to master, or improve on,
- activities I wanted to do
I don’t think I’m alone in this thinking. After all, so many of us are taught that not being ‘productive’ is a waste of time. But I’ve been learning that being productive for the sake of it is not really worthwhile.
I did tick quite a few things off the list. But in the process, I continued a pattern of being busy and task focused and driven and – not actually making the most of my time. I can be busy anytime. How often do I get the chance to be more selective and actually think about how I want to live my life?
So after the first couple of weeks I pulled back. I found it was really very worthwhile – for reasons I hadn’t expected.
Before deciding WHAT you will do, think about WHY
Nothing on my to do list wasn’t worthwhile. However everything didn’t actually have to be done at once.
And while I am relieved, for instance, that I have cleaned out almost all the cupboards and drawers in our house after years (my linen cupboard, in particular has never looked more organised and that fills me with some strange form of delight), we have coped until now. The tidying and sorting was good to do but not essential.
On the other hand, some of the other aspects were really beneficial in working out how I operate and why some things work for me and others don’t. There were some real benefits, including:
- Not rushing. Recognising that I can complete quite a lot without the need to dash from one thing to another.
- Being a little more spontaneous without completing losing focus. Being rather than just doing – and most importantly, having the time to be present with others.
- Being able to notice how I operate best – what times of the day I am most productive, how best to fit healthier patterns into my life, why I react in certain ways and what might be a better approach.
- Doing very little at all – and seeing where my focus and my priorities lie as a result.
I was able to be part of more of the kids’ activities, to spend more day time with my husband and with friends and notice how relaxing that was (not to mention the benefits of my daily run / walk with our dog. I loved not only the companionship and feeling a bit healthier, but also just noticing my daily route through parklands – so pretty).
I’m glad to have had this opportunity because I now have a new job – starting tomorrow!
As I said, you never know how long things will last. And, while I have half finished pieces of writing, and half completed processes to update my blog (also on the list), I will come back to those when the time is right.
I’ve had a chance to pause. I’ve decided where I want to head, and how that will work for all of us, and also developed some ideas of how to make it happen. And that’s an opportunity we don’t all have. I’m very grateful.