Time. There is never enough! It is nearly impossible to find ‘me’ time in our fast-paced lives even when we just have ourselves to look after, and it is infinitely more challenging when we also have kids.
Work, school runs, kids’ activities, chores…there are simply too many obligations. The ‘to do’ list always seems to get longer, and many of us are forced to be ‘productive’ in every available time slot.
But what if we paused the to do list and wasted some time?
Today, like every day, I was faced with a mounting pile of work…dirty dishes, the desperate dog who needed to be walked, laundry piles, a near-empty refrigerator, and the list goes on. That didn’t even include work for my business. It was a Saturday, so my priorities could shift a bit, but there is always too much to do as a parent. What did I do?
I sat down and played the piano. For an entire half an hour! All of those pressing tasks just sat there, blocked out of my mind. It was slightly challenging with my kids around who kept coming in and of the room with their various needs, but nothing is really free and easy these days.
I ignored all of it and just wasted time. It was simply fabulous.
I chose my time-waster to be something that makes me happy. Allowing myself to do this left me feeling more calm and ultimately energized, ready to tackle the tasks in front of me. We all have responsibilities that we can’t ignore forever, but if that is all that we allow ourselves to experience, it is pretty impossible to live mindfully. Doing something that we enjoy takes us into the present moment and gives us a reset. As we always say, it is not possible to live mindfully 100% of the time, but we can increase our mindful moments by taking small amounts of time to simply enjoy.
My daughter is in the middle of school exams, which has filled up every spare minute of her already limited time. I remember my childhood days having endless spare hours to do with what I chose, but circumstances seem different now. Last night instead of going over yet another prep exam, I told her to forget about it for a bit, and she wasted time creating silly videos. I watched her start to relax and giggle uncontrollably over the simple pleasure of creating emoji-filled nonsense. She woke up today and didn’t have the same resistance of yet another study session, and began a prep exam without as much complaint. She needed to waste some time to feel more motivated.
I admit that there can be a fine line between procrastination and effectively wasting time. You need to proceed with your own caution, but generally we all need to take some frivolous moments for ourselves to rejuvenate.
Some of my favorite ways to waste time:
- Play the piano.
- Read a few chapters of a book. Fiction, non-fiction, doesn’t matter.
- Read the the newspaper beyond just the headlines.
- Call a friend.
Some of my kids’ favorite ways to waste time:
- Play video games.
- Text with friends.
- Create silly videos.
- Persistently ask mom for something while mom is trying to peacefully waste time.
How do you and your family like to waste time?