People do not like to be bored. Yet far too often we spend our free time doing the same things we always do. Recently I spent an entire day by myself. My phone was off, I packed lunch and some snacks and drove out to a reservoir at a nearby park. There I sat by a fountain, constantly getting hit by the spray I just sat there writing. It was great. I felt refreshed and clean by the end of the day.
Finding time like this is difficult. I am a freelancer. Admittedly, I have more flexibility than the average person. However, I am never at a lack for important things to fill my calendar. Work demands, family responsibilities, bills and errands pepper my calendar always. Despite that, I’m here to suggest three actions you can take today that are highly effective at increasing the time I have available for the things that provide relief from boredom and allow me to fill my life with day-to-day adventures. They are:
1. Ride the Wave of Motivation:
A few weeks back I was discussing with my friend that I wanted to take a topography and map reading course. I am notoriously bad at navigating and I am tired of getting lost on trails. I got home that day and sat on my computer and remembered that conversation. So I found myself on REI.com checking their schedule of courses.I signed up on the spot.
Had I not done that the odds of me signing up would have dropped significantly. If you want to try new things you need to ride the wave of motivation as they come. Because the new does not like to come to fruition. Your lizard brain wants to keep you on the couch or at your computer doing nothing out of the ordinary. It wants your to be comfortable.
Use the motivation when it come and act on it and make sure you:
2. Schedule it:
Put it on your calendar. It is proven that you are more likely to do something that is on your calendar. By keeping things open-ended you give the universe thousands of opportunities to get in the way. By scheduling it you have created a commitment to yourself, to a teachers or class, to your wallet (if the event costs), or perhaps to friends or colleagues. You have incentive to follow through.
Scheduling it creates accountability and allows you to say, “Sorry I have a commitment,” if something tries to take that time slot. Of all of the habits I am proud to have fostered, this one is the most effective for my productivity. By scheduling almost everything I have been able to hold myself accountable in a way that I never have before and those grand workout plans and classes that I have always wanted to take actually find their way into my life.
This is all because I have been able to:
3. Prioritize them:
You get home from work. You make dinner and you eat. Then you sit down at the computer or television and watch hours of YouTube videos and baking shows. I recently asked my father why he does not draw anymore. His answer? I don’t have time. Shenanigans. I told him to find time. He scoffed at me asking, “Where am I supposed to find time?”
What I was too afraid to say was, “How about during the 4 hours of TV you watch every night after work?”
Everyone has the same amount of time in a day. What do you want to spend your time doing? You can spend four hours watching TV. That is fine, but do not complain that you do not have time to write or draw or run or garden. You do, you just chose to do something else instead. What your prioritize is your own choice. I respect whatever priorities you have selected.
I challenge you to take some of that time you spend on TV or searching the internet and read or write or go for a walk. You may discover that you like the way you feel more when you get your mind and body moving. Or sign up for that course you’ve always been interested in and put it in your calendar. It may provide the inspiration you need to get your life moving toward the adventure you crave.
So do you practice any of these three actions already? Or better yet, do you have one I didn’t mention? Let’s compare.
John Latona Jr., The Boy with the Bear