The day begins early. Even in winter, as the cold birds puff their feathers and the grass is tipped with frost; the day begins at minus three degrees, in the dark of the early morning. The mornings waiver between slow breakfasts and flurries of coffee breaks, tapping at an email, scratching notes in a diary. Afternoons drag, that space after midday which pulls into the dusk and darkness.
Some days feel fully lived, each moment a memorable snapshot, a defining point of your life. Other days it seems the only movement is the hand of the clock ticking towards inevitable closure and rolling into the next point on the calendar.
We talk about ‘wasting time’ as though time is something curatable, consumable, something within our control. We talk about saving time, using time wisely, making time for the important things. Our time is precious, and limited, yet many of us spend days dedicating ourselves to work tasks, inane media, and bad moods.
Our attention is so easily captivated by things which do not serve us. From endless TV reruns to scandalous twitter trends, we scroll and watch and spend our time invested in things which do not improve our lives. Perhaps, paradoxically, it is the very concept of wasting time itself which causes our problems. Instead of imagining time as being able to be ‘wasted’, we can instead consider that we are always making the active choice to spend our time in certain ways.
We are not, after all, out of control of our lives. We are always making choices in how to spend our time, some choices are just more simple to make than others. You might have heard of this as the path of least resistance.
We can, and should, find ways to ease our path in order to spend our time more wisely. If we can make it easier for ourselves to choose better ways to spend our time, then we can reap the benefits of doing so. It might be as simple as keeping your journal on top of your laptop so that you have to pick it up at the start of your day; keeping a full water bottle on your desk so that it’s ready to drink. Create simple paths to the most positive uses of your time, and you will automatically minimise time wasted.
Time spent alone in front of a screen turns to time talking with friends, time spent doing excess work turns into time focusing on personal projects, hours of TV turns into hours spent learning new skills, helping out family, or making time for self-development. Time well spent becomes the norm, improving your value and fulfilment in life- work hours seem easier, difficult moments more bearable. There are fewer and fewer grey dragging days, and more vibrant memories of days well spent, doing things you love.
What looks like time well spent to you? How will you choose to spend your time?
Featured image: Julian O’Hayon via Unsplash.