Even thought I left my job six months ago to ‘make time to do the things I want to do, I still catch myself saying, ‘I still don’t have time to do the things I want to do.” And it’s even worse.
When I still had my job, I was able to practice yoga 6 hours a week, write 4 times a week and read a book almost everyday. But for the past months, I have been struggling to do those, let alone do the other activities I want to do- read, practice yoga, write, travel, get lost, talk to strangers, make friends, join organizations.
Last Thursday morning, I was on the verge of bursting- shouting ‘AHHHHH!!!’ with no apparent reason. I was irritable. Earlier that morning, I pushed myself to finish a 2-hour yoga practice even if I had a terrible flu. Upon getting home, I took a bath and then, swept the floor while Nicole prepared breakfast.
While I was sweeping the floor, I was aghast by the hair strands on the floor, the black soil particles from the little plants scattered on the balcony and the tangled cables of the extension cord, microwave oven, laptop catheter and electric fan. It was a mess. Why do these dirt keep coming back every single day? Its as if I did not sweep the floor the previous day. Argh!!
Nicole noticed how irritated I was. He joked saying, “Is that what meditation and yoga do to you?” My ears perked up. I got more pissed and poured my frustrations on him.
“I feel so tired- everyday. The list of things I need to do does not seem to end – I need to sweep the floor, cook, think of what to cook, wash the dishes. There are just so many things I need to do first. I don’t have time to do the things I really want to do.”
Calmly, he replied, “What do you want to do?”
“ I want to to figure out what my blog is for and fix it. I also what to start an online business. And also, I want to be a freelance writer. I know these are a lot so, I am starting with my blog. But even with just working on my blog strategy, I don’t have the energy and time to do it. I always feel tired.”
“Okay. Now, how about your yoga practice? You’ve committed to a daily practice. Doesn’t that count?”
“Well, that’s already a given. I mean I have already paid the class fee so, I will really do it for the next few months. And that’s something that I really want to be doing.” This made me realize that he is right! I am already doing an activity I want to do, I enjoy and I committed in doing. Why didn’t I realize that?
“You should give yourself credit for doing that – an activity that you want to be doing everyday.”
“Yeah. You’re definitely right.”
Allowing myself to ‘do the things I want to do but never had the time to do’ is very difficult. Why? Because there are contrary to what I am used to- results-driven, time optimization, process efficiencies. Nothing in the activities that I want to be doing are aligned to these. Read a book for 30-90 hours a day, how is that an efficient use of time? A thirty minute nap in the middle of the day, how is that productive? Stare at the view on our balcony, what for? Eat a chocolate, why would I want that unnecessary calories in my body?
The reason I am incapable of doing ‘the things I want to do but never had the time to do’ is because I choose not to do them. It’ snot because I do not have time to do them but, it’s because I reject doing them.
Create a blog strategy, an online business or be a freelance writer – nothing of these are part of the ‘list of things I want to do but never had the time to do’. Why is it then that I am stressing myself of doing these? Why not prioritize the activities I’d long been wanting to do?
It’s because the activities I really want to do, I find them – lazy, pointless, child-like, self-indulgent, waste of time. Nothing in them spells income, future, strategy, stability, efficiency, productivity nor results. Instead, I find them as a mere expenditure of precious resources – time, energy and money.
After my conversation with Nicole, I started looking on how I have been spending my time and energy. I realized that I have been pushing myself to deliver things that are not part of the things I want to do but never had the time to do’, which makes me procrastinate. I fill my time with activities that gives me instant gratification- social media streaming, watching, online shopping, knit picking on the tiniest dirt in the house, finding fault in things around me that in the end makes me feel bad. I feel guilty on not doing what I planned to do, not having the drive to be productive and wasting my time and life.
Clearly, the problem here is with me. I am my own dictator, “Do this, do that.” Until my time is filled up with activities, I do not like to do. So this week, I have come to a realization to- Do the Opposite: Allow myself to do lazy, bizarre, child-like activities for nothing but, fun. Play.
Taking out the routine things such as showering, sweeping the floor, cooking and washing the dishes, this is what I decided to do with my time this week.
Morning: Practice yoga, Read and Sleep for as long as I like
Afternoon: Do whatever I feel like doing, except on Wednesday when I need to meet Nicole and Thursday when I need to write my blog article
After doing this for four days now, these are my top (3) realizations:
– Waking from a 20 minute nap feels like waking up to a new day- positive mood, renewed energy and rested body.
– Reading allows me to travel to places and live lives that I won’t be able to access in 30-90 minutes.
– I need to consciously and deliberately make myself do the lazy, child-like, bizarre and playful things ‘II want to do but never had the time to do’ – such as staring at the view at the balcony, not scheduling any activity in the afternoon and reading some more.
P.S: Doing the above is so much fun!
It hasn’t been a week since I started this, I am excited to see how this experiment goes. Do I stick to the plan of playing? Or do I start filling my time with things that I think I should do? Let’s see.