I’ve been thinking about the choices we all make and how they determine our destiny. One of the main choices we make, and maybe the most important one, is how we spend our time. How we use time management determines a lot in life!
How Do You Spend Your Time?
I’m thinking in particular about what we might call our recreational time: the non working, non sleeping, non eating time. Yes, I know some people think eating is a recreational activity, but for now let’s set eating aside.
And are all recreational activities created the same? It seems to me they fall into three categories that are important to think about in terms of time management:
1. those that are fun but are harmful and damage us in some way (like getting drunk)
2. those that are mindless distractions and don’t harm or necessarily help us
3. those that require some energy but are pleasurable and have lead to self improvement (like Yoga, for example)
Many choices fall into the middle where they neither harm nor help us. It may seem that choices we make when we set them apart from one another don’t have much consequence.
HOWEVER, when we start to add them up and see patterns, they really do determine
so much about the quality of our lives.
Take a Few Hours Every Day for Pleasure Activities
No matter what you do in life, I think everyone needs at least a few hours every day to spend doing pleasurable things.
Something that isn’t work! I say that to remind myself, because I enjoy my work so much that even I have to be reminded of this!
So what’s your something else?
Let’s think of them as Gold choices, Silver choices and Bronze choices. Gold improves you, Silver helps you pass the time, and Bronze damages you.
Let’s also look at some possible characteristics of each of
These might be intellectually challenging choices and emotionally rewarding ones as well. They require a good amount of energy though they give back what they take. You often feel good about yourself as well as how you’re spending your time when you make this choice.
These are often the choices we make when we don’t feel like making choices. They are easy to make when we don’t much care how we spend our time. Think of the times you mindlessly watched TV or spent too much time chatting and wish you had that time back.
These can be relaxing times when you want to chill out. You’re looking for something simple and mindless. Choose these wisely as they can often lead to feeling more drained than relaxed and actually leave you feeling more like you’re in the Bronze zone.
I think of a time a few weeks ago when what should have been a half hour conversation with a friend turned into a MUCH MUCH too long of a me listening and him talking and complaining about everything that was going wrong in his life chat. It left me drained for days and I can assure you this will never happen again. I’ll think better about time management in the future.
The silver choices can be the tricky ones because we want them closer to the GOLD choices than the Bronze ones!
We all have our vices. Think of these as the things you do to sabotage or hurt yourself. It could be something like procrastination or any addictions that challenge you.
These often provide both pleasure and pain, which is why they can be tricky to spot. It can often be overindulging in something that might be a silver choice. I can think of women I know who have exercise addictions. They may feel like they are having a
great time, but they are really hurting themselves.
We often pick Bronze choices because we are weak and in a self destructive mode. When we regain our strength, our choices tend to move up to the silver and gold categories.
I’ve noticed a few things.
When we’re at our best and feeling confident and full of energy and our self esteem is in a good place, we choose the GOLD
If someone were to ask, “How are you feeling?” and your answer would be, “So so,” you’d likely make a Silver choice.
When self doubt creeps in and we’re feeling pretty crummy about ourselves, we are susceptible to those Bronze choices.
So…….. make a list of YOUR GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE choices.
Here are some ideas for time management and choices!
Gold choices might include:
Listening to music
Yoga or Tai Chi
Playing an instrument
Watching a movie that inspires you
Reading a great book
Having great sex
Silver choices might include:
Getting a massage
Watching a live sporting event
Watching movies or TV shows you find entertaining
Reading novels that entertain you
Bronze choices might include:
Watching stupid or degrading TV shows and movies
Doing things you’d be ashamed to talk about
Create a list that works for you!
Remember though that……
The activity/experience is intellectually challenging.
It teaches you something worth knowing or develops a skill worth having.
It develops you emotionally.
It is energizing and gives you more than it takes.
It leaves you happy with your choice and feeling like you’re doing the right thing.
It builds confidence and self esteem.
The choice is intellectually and emotionally easy. It’s comfortable and enjoyable.
It is usually passive rather than active. Doing too much of it is not good for you. Think of sitting on the couch and staring at the TV screen. A little bit of it is OK but too much leaves you with the feeling that you’ve wasted your time.
The choice is physically or mentally damaging. It harms you intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Over time, when you engage in Bronze choices, you become less capable of peak performance in all areas of your life.
Final Thoughts on Time Management
What will making different choices do for you?
Making better choices can’t help but create a better and more fulfilling life. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll discover about yourself, or maybe not.
Maybe you knew you were a GOLD medal winner all along!?
If you feel stuck and need additional support to adopt a new healthy habit or routine, consider working with me. We can partner up in setting goals, drawing on your skills and strengths, and implementing strategies to help you find your way to lasting healthy success.
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For over 15 years, Shelli has been a freelance writer and wellness habit coach on Joyinmovement. She writes about brain fitness, creating a healthy lifestyle, traveling the world, and making positive habits stick. Stop procrastinating! Take action, join her free newsletter.