We all have free time but it’s becoming mechanical to exhaust it on whatever glows in our screen. Not that it is entirely wrong — it can be valuable if spent deliberately.
The trouble is that free time occupies intervals of our day, however busy we declare ourselves at times. If we spend these trickles in autopilot mode, of careening from point A to infinity, they just add up. How would it feel later when all our time has been gobbled up?
What wonders await us, instead, if we spend the bulk of our time on things that can make us more?
During these waiting times, we have a choice to just sit still, savor the peace, then fill our days with small activities — bursts of any creation, errand or habit. A poem, perhaps? Reviewing? Jumping jacks? Cleaning?
While it’s easy to ignore these time trickles as they seem so short, we can still stretch these minutes for things we think we don’t have time for.
While waiting on a queue, instead of whining, we can catch up with a friend. On a long haul, we can learn a new language. On a lazy Sunday, we can get back on a special project.
I actually started a draft of this blog while on a queue for a dentist appointment. I thought, ‘Ha! Downtimes! I can write an essay about this.’
Downtimes, when combined, give an ample room to rest our minds, think nothing about, gather our thoughts, sort them, or maybe solve a problem. We can even unravel something important or a funny memory can resurface during these in-betweens.
They have deadlines, too. And that’s a good thing. May it be short or long, expiration can nudge us to make the most of it. Okay, I only have half an hour to write, so get the time capsule running while I ruminate and pin down some thoughts.
We can even tie a habit to a particular downtime. While on a drive to work, I can listen to a podcast. Walking home, I can take pictures. On a break from class, I can take a long walk. On lunch times, I’ll do a quick research for a new recipe. Early in the morning while seeping coffee, I can get back on some reading. The day welcomes variety.
We only have so much energy to spend in a day. Downtimes, for this reason, can be used not to procrastinate or overwhelm us, but to lighten our loads and whittle the things worth accomplishing.
Imagine how much satisfaction we can derive if we begin using these trickles wisely to prepare, connect, learn, grow, rest and slow down.