Making Better Choices About Time
It is the interstitial moments that are my downfall. They are the spaces between one task and the next, when I’ve completed one email for business and before I’ve gathered my parenting thoughts to write the next one to a teacher. In that fraction of a moment some part of my brain tells me I should go check twitter. So I do. In fact I click through my saved tabs taking a look at all of my regular websites to see if there is anything new. If there is, I read it. If nothing is new, I feel like I want something new, so I am tempted to click something else, to go find something new. Ten or twenty minutes later I resurface and turn my mind to the next task. Sometimes that brief click through actually does refresh my mind, making me ready for the next thing. More often it fractures my focus, filling my mind with distraction. I have decided that I need to pay attention to this tendency, to acknowledge that sometimes I need a break, but that I should focus my break time on activities which actually refresh and refocus instead of those which distract and fracture. To that end, I have made the following list. These are the things I should do instead of clicking through internet tabs for the umpteenth time.
- Spend time in spiritual study and scripture reading. Granted this is a larger break, but a very worthwhile one.
- Go to the gym. Again a longer brake, again very worth the time.
- Do a five minute house chore like switching out laundry loads or vacuuming a room.
- Step outside my house and breath outdoor air for five minutes.
- Spend a few minutes on a gardening task or watering the indoor plants.
- Glance through fiction notes to see if new ideas jump out. (This one may lead into writing hijacking an hour.)
- Spend ten or fifteen minutes working on the family photo book projects.
- Declare writing time and go write fiction for awhile.
- Read one of those books I’ve been intending to study for style and prose.
- Read or watch one of the articles or TED talks that I put away to look at later when I had time to focus on it.
- Just sit and stare at nothing to see what thoughts parade themselves into consciousness.
Some of these things will take more time thank a quick click through websites, but they actually feed and rest my brain in ways that clicking doesn’t. Having the list is a good start. The next part is learning to be mindful.
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