Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Free" is Easily Wasted

I’ve been noticing lately how a remarkable amount of my “free” time gets mysteriously wasted each day. I start off with the best of intentions: exercising first thing, showering and dressing before my husband leaves the house, getting my daughter to the school bus on time with (usually) everything she needs.
Then it all falls apart.
While my little one catches his favorite Disney Junior shows, I check e-mail. Two to three hours later, I finally get off the computer, having answered e-mails, investigated several lucrative e-mail offers, checked Facebook, “liked” several posts, replied to several more, clicked on one too many YouTube links, checked CNN and the Weather Channel for major happenings, and caught up on my blogs.
Yep. Two to three hours of nothing, really.
Then I’ll get up and do a few chores before lunch. After little one has eaten and is lying down for his nap, I repeat an abbreviated version of the morning computer routine before starting to write. But wait – before I start to write, I need to play just a couple games of solitaire, you know, to get the creative juices flowing.
An hour later, I start to write. By then, I only have maybe an hour before little one wakes up, my daughter gets home from school, and the homework/dinner/bedtime routine kicks in. Many days, as I’m anticipating my darling husband’s arrival, I have to wonder, “What did I really do today?”
It’s been said a million times: we all have 24 hours in the day, and none of us knows how many of those 24-hour days we have in front of us. So why on earth would I squander a single moment of any of them? Let alone many, many, many moments?
So here’s the deal. For the next week, I have created a schedule for myself (no, I will not post the schedule as I’d like to keep that little bit of crazy to myself) on which I have blocked out every minute of every day. Some of the blocks are for things like checking e-mail and blogs, reading, and working on my Sunday crossword. But other blocks are for actual seriously productive activities, like tackling the spring cleaning list I never got to in the spring. Or working on the Christmas stocking for little one that’s been sitting in a box under my bed for three years. Or – gasp! – writing. And for the entire week, I will avoid at all costs playing solitaire.
So who’s with me? What activities are sucking the time and productivity from your life? Could you swap them for activities that are more meaningful and fulfilling?
Let’s live every day – every moment – to the fullest. I don’t expect anyone ever cried from their deathbed, “If only I’d played more solitaire!”

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