Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Making the most of my time

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”
 –William Penn



I’ve been imagining what others would see if they had open access to view me and my actions, hour by hour, like a fly on the wall.
I’ve not been doing this because I think my life is so interesting. I’ve been doing it as an exercise.
I’ve been on a quest to use my time more wisely, to live according to my priorities and values. I’ve written about how difficult it is for me to make plans, to motivate myself to do what’s most important for me to do.
This quest has led me to a question: How do I want to spend my time?
Which leads directly to this question: How am I spending my time now?
It’s not a pretty sight.
If others had open access to view my life, they’d see a picture of a woman who sleeps too much, spends too much time in indecision, eats without thinking. It’s a picture of a woman who wanders through her day.


How do I get to a place where I’m using my time to do the things that matter the most to me? How do I reach the point where what I’m doing reflects my values and gives my life meaning?
I’m feeling rather desperate. I’ve read books about time management. I read a great book about how habits develop.
I know that habits that I developed from having OCD are ingrained and it’s going to take a lot of work to develop new ones. I know that chronic depression makes it harder sometimes to take action.
But Lord help me, I’ve got to do better than this.
Remember what my therapist told me about what happy people do?

What they do, he said, is choose to do things according to their values. They do things that are meaningful to them, that make their lives meaningful.

I have finally taken the time to sit down with paper and pen to write. I usually compose on the computer, but when I’m trying to figure something out, trying to make plans, set goals, I find that physically moving a pen or pencil along a page helps me.
I made a list of my priorities in life. That wasn’t hard. My priorities are my relationship with God, my husband, my cats and my writing.
Under each, I’ve begun listing ways that I can better spend my time to reflect the fact that they are my priorities.
For example, to build and experience my relationship with God, I can spend time meditating and reading scripture.
To build a stronger writing life, I can spend time on my memoir, journal and read.
My next step is to start building those things into my schedule.
And there are all the connecting parts of my life to consider, too, like making time for relaxation, exercise and fun.


Once I put pen to paper and started writing, I began to feel better about my prospects. I’m planning now, making small changes along the way.
I’m moving towards making the most of my time.

How do you decide how to spend your time?

35 comments:

  1. I make lists sometimes. I was doing that and then I stopped for a while but just this week I started a "to do" list for the week. It does help. It's good that you wrote down WHAT is important to you so that you can invest in those things.

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    1. Thank you, Kristina. It did help me to write down my priorities. I'm the type of person who likes to "see" something on paper. It seems more real then.

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  2. I am pretty much like you and maybe people will look it as dull as it is. I am 27 but mostly my life is consist with GOD, my family, my self and sometimes my best-friends. I didn't spend a lot of times hang out or any social stuff. Though people will say it's boring but I enjoy it, weekend to me is at home sleeping or snuggling with husband or cooking. I was kinda always-planning-hours-by-hours person but my husband make me learn to lay back and relaxed to enjoy my life and that's what I am doing right now.

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    1. Thank you, Fina Sofiana (I love your name!). I think if you are content, that is what is most important.

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  3. Oh Tina I understand this I have been putting pen to paper for years it gets me through I find it very soothing. My blog posts may come on a train in a car waiting at an auction, in a crowd on a subway platform, parked on the side of a road or anywhere. My favourite is in the middle of my bush surrounded by trees. Writing with pen and paper is very therapeutic. My Hero brought me home 40 pens the other day and that says love to me he knows it keeps me calm in turn making his life easier I am sure. You will be surprised how much it helps Hug B

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    1. Thank you, Buttons. I'm like you--writing soothes me. I love new pens and trying different ones. Your husband's gift of 40 pens is wonderful! :-)

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  4. I need to make better use of and more efficiently utilize my time. I try to allocate certain blocks of time for certain projects/activities but it seems it never works out according to plan :-)

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    1. Thanks, Keith. I think it's good to just go with the flow sometimes. I would like to emulate one way you use time--getting up early and enjoying the morning!

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  5. What a good question to ask, what do happy people do. I hope you find the happiest ways to spend your time!

    There is a Trader joes in Charlottesville, if you are ever up that way.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I think I'll find greater contentment and less stress if I'm using my time on things that matter to me.

      I have read so much about Trader Joe's. I'm going to have to check it out.

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  6. Oh Tina.... I waste a lot of time. I am feeling very guilty over this lately. I hope we can both work on this time thing :-)

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. It's easy to do--waste time. But let's be patient with ourselves--we'll get better at using our time wisely!

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  7. Tina -- my husband and I have discussed happiness and have come to the conclusion that being content is a better goal. Being content with who you are and what you like to do. Happy is something we reserve for unique moments that don't come along every day.

    And for the record, I could relate to your post -- we all waste time now and then. Big hugs dear. xo

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    1. Thank you for your support, Nancy. I agree. In fact, I see happiness as more of a contentment than a "happy feeling."

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  8. i definitely give too much time to blogging, yet it is enjoyable to sit in peace and quiet while i do it. i do need to get outside more.

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    1. Tex, I'm prone to spending too much time blogging, too! I find I have to work for some balance. Thank you for your comment.

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  9. My best days start by journaling about what I want to accomplish that day. That doesn't happen often enough though. Have to work on that because it helps me decide how to spend my time. It reminds me how I need to meditate and pray, pick one area to clean around the house, and whatever else needs to be done that day; then I leave time for crafts, watching TV while I do my crafts, play words with friends and ride my bike.

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    1. Patty, I like your idea of journaling to start the day. I think that would be helpful to me, too. Thank you for sharing that!

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  10. Lists help me a lot. Not only do they help me focus, but they also show me when I'm trying to do too much (which is a big issue for me). I have notebooks for major projects, such as the garden, a novel in progress, and some volunteer work that I do. In those, I write down all the tasks that need to be done. Then I have a daily to-do list, where I spread those tasks out over a week or even a month, depending on what's involved.

    Since I always have to guard against overwork, I also include on my to-do list things like "read," "meditate," "exercise," "drink tea." If I don't, I risk running myself ragged. This way, I give those restful times equal importance to the more active part of life.

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    1. By the way, this is Nadine. Don't know why Skyyogi keeps showing up.

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    2. Nadine, I like the way you use different notebooks for major projects. I have a notebook for writing and one for another project that I'm starting, and I'm finding it helpful, too. I might need to break out more notebooks! Writing things down helps to calm anxiety that I have over things I need to/want to do. And I like how you include the self-care items on your list. Thank you for sharing what helps you.

      I changed my settings for leaving comments, so that may have changed the way your comments appear. But I recognize Skyyogi as Nadine now! :-)

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  11. I try to do the things I love to do despite OCD trying to run interference. It is my biggest beef with OCD, the time I wasted with the OCD thoughts or compulsions. When I had depression, I learned that I had to get out of bed and go out and do things whether I wanted to or not.. and believe me I didn't feel like doing anything. It worked though, eventually I looked forward to doing things and got plugged back into life. I try the same concept with OCD. My biggest goal this year was to be more social and it is really hard for me because my inclination is to stay home with my husband or a book but being around people more is showing itself to be such a blessing. A friend of mine asked me to go to Chicago for a whole weekend on a spa trip (for two) her husband gifted her with - a couple years back I would have declined because of my OCD but I am just not going to let it rob me of experiences anymore. I do have some fears but I am moving forward with what I want to do anyway.
    You have wonderful self awareness Tina and it gives me such strength to know how others like you are working on moving forward.

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    1. Thank you, Krystal Lynn. I admire how you are taking on the OCD and not letting it get in the way of experiencing all of life that you want to experience. I, too, have a big beef with OCD for all the time that I have given over to obsessions and compulsions. I love that you are enjoying being more social and planning a trip to Chicago--that sounds so fun!

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  12. Time management is a big issue with so many people, I think (myself included) with and without OCD. I tend to make lists of things I "have" to do, and I love crossing things out as I do them. But it's so easy to get caught up in my "to do" list and forget to do things from my "I enjoy" list....it really is a conscious effort to use my time wisely with balance.I'm definitely a work in progress in this area!

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    1. Thanks, Janet. I'm a work in progress, too. I like the idea of having an "I enjoy" list. I'm going to make one.

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  13. Your priorities and mine are very similar. I've been through counseling too for anxiety/depression, and writing things down on paper helps me a great deal. Like, you i'm indecisive often. I love to read, but which book do i want to read? I change my mind again and again sometimes. Now i make that part of my to do list. I make time to read, write down what time i'm going to do it, and write down which book, or mag articles i want to read. If i write it down, i find i stick to it. I do the same thing with my walking/exercise. I plan the time of day to do it, so i don't slack off. Then i won't 'cheat', and say to myself, 'I don't have the time to do that now.. i'll do it later...' :)

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    1. Thank you, Mary. I like your practice of writing down specifics like what you plan to read and when. I, too, find myself indecisive sometimes about what to read. I have too many choices! :-)

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  14. I hear you - I find myself going through periods of angst or restlessness because I feel like I'm living without purpose. I think you have come up with some good ways to pursue a rich(er) life. You already have such a strong sense of purpose that makes a real difference - I hope you can give yourself credit for that intentionality. :)

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    1. Thank you. I appreciate your kind words! Just wandering through life causes me a lot of angst. I feel like I'm missing something.

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  15. Hi Tina, great post. First off, I love the clocks...especially the bird one! I think we all waste time...from time to time (no pun intended). I think the fact that we are able to recognize this, though, is the beginning of finding a resolution; and, yes, it does take time. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. The bird clock is one of my favorites. It makes a different bird sound each hour. :-) I agree--recognizing that we want to spend our time more wisely is the beginning of change.

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  16. i just do what i enjoy, i don't think about it too much. i just flow from one thing to the other. the things that need to be done, distract me from the "fun" things i love to do. i seem to get it all done, in time. no rules, just balance. remember the saying "expect nothing, you'll never be dissappointed"!! it's kinda like that for me!!

    i don't think anything, even resting, is ever a waste of time. the hubs tells me naps are an investment, in the future....i buy it, cause i love him!!

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    1. Thank you, Debbie. I love what your husband says about naps! It sounds like you have a good way of balancing your life.

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  17. I always come here to find that you're working so hard on changing things in your life - and it's always inspirational. You working hard towards your goals is showing others that although it requires hard work, it's all possible. You're doing wonderfully!

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. I appreciate your kind words!

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