Sometimes I feel like I am the world’s worst time-waster. The trouble, when you operate outside of the 9-5 routine, is that a day can pass seemingly without you having actually done anything constructive. I am always busy but there are times when I am not sure what exactly it is that I have accomplished with my day. I know my enjoyment of domesticity is rather old fashioned but I can happily while away a morning consumed by washing, cleaning, cooking and ironing. Then I sit in front of the computer and it is ‘game over’. The hours pass in a haze of Facebook updates, emails and various other distractions that are in no way life-changing or world-changing. On reflection, I could be so much more effective if I was more conscientious with my time. I know I am at my most productive when I have a full schedule and a series of tasks that need attention. There is a lot to be said for adrenaline.
So, what to do with those moments when I have a bit of spare time? No one wants to be constantly engaged in all-consuming activity and I acknowledge that regular rest and relaxation is vital. Yet, it is usually pretty obvious when I am simply wasting time rather than putting my feet up after a long day. Is my tendency toward procrastination preventing me from focusing on the things that really matter?
I asked my sister if she had any world-changing ideas and she revealed how she has been surprised by the number of global issues of which she has lately become aware. She suggested that we should all try to expose ourselves to such issues more regularly rather than continue to stick our heads in the sand and pretend they don’t exist. It made me realise that I regularly choose to read irrelevant Twitter updates (at least I’ll know what my friends are having for breakfast!) when I could take those five minutes and learn something new about what is going on in our global community by reading blogs and watching news reports. A friend recently introduced me to the TED website which has some of the most inspiring talks I have heard in a long time and is well worth visiting during a coffee break. On a personal and community level, Facebook really is no substitute for genuine interaction and I would be building much stronger relationships if I picked up the phone to call a family member or met a friend for coffee.
We all have our time-wasters but once we are aware of them it is much easier to counteract the effects. If the task at hand is not purposeful it is likely just a distraction and too many of these keep me from having an impact where it matters. Instead, I’m opting to avoid procrastination and make full use of the short amount of time I have been blessed with on this earth. It is time to make the things I do count rather than letting the minutes and hours simply pass me by.