Last week I talked about managing your to-do list. This week I have been thinking about those times when you have too much time on your hands. This is as a result of a discussion in our closed group where a member commented:
I don’t need to find time to reflect, I have plenty of time and I’m bored.
So what if you’re not feeling burned out?
What if you have enough time to do all you want? What if you get bored by all the time you do have? Full disclosure: I am an extrovert; I find that reflection and peace and quiet doesn’t come naturally to me. I find it is in these moments boredom sets in along with frustration and a general will to do nothing at all! Anyone with me? I over-schedule myself, albeit doing things I love and I spin a lot of plates. Would I change? Probably not. As I’ve got older (read: wiser) I’ve learnt to add in reflection time. I aim for a maximum of 15 minutes to combat the boredom but to give me the calm I need.
As a result I find it hard to understand how reflective people get self-care – it would seem logical that they need more time to reflect in order to re-energise; in the same way that extroverts replenish their energy from those around them. All the reading I have done around the subject supports this idea. If you are an introvert I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I wonder if the member of the group is an extrovert and so my recent suggestions of time to reflect and taking time out don’t work for her. Of course, we are all on a spectrum of introvert-extrovert and need to do what works for us.
But this doesn’t cover the original query – what if you have enough time but you get bored? This led me to think about motivation. At the time, my reply to her comment was to think about doing something else; that if she felt bored, perhaps add something in, something she’s always wanted to do.
Balancing our time
Easy? Maybe not. What I have come to realise in researching and writing about self-care is it’s all about balance. Work-life balance but more specifically how-we-spend-our-time-balance. How do you spend your time? Efficiently? Do you spend time doing things which suck you in? Social media anyone? How can we make the most efficient use of our time?
The reality is that what we do needs to be will-led i.e. we need to want to do it. We need to be motivated. So, we will all do the things we want to do, when we want to do them. Sometimes we wait until we need to do them.
The key to motivation is to imagine yourself doing the thing you want to be doing and imagining how it feels and makes you feel. Imagine the satisfaction of doing it. Then, holding on to that feeling write it down, or, in my case…go and do it! Alternatively, imagine what life will be like if you don’t do it – does that change things?
What about when you have too much time to think?
Your brain can go into overload thinking things through which can lead to procrastination and/or feeling paralysed by decision. All of these things can lead to feeling demotivated, overwhelmed, anxious, depressed. Some people feel they have lost their sense of purpose or meaning to life. If you feel you are depressed I would encourage you to tell someone and seek professional support.
How does all this relate to self-care?
I have been thinking about this for a week and the more I think about it the more I think it comes down to these three things:
- Know yourself – are you introverted/extroverted? (think about how you raise your energy levels)
- Understand what is important to you
- Make time – as needed and use it wisely
Whether you are introverted or extroverted you need to make time to care for yourself. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 minutes a day or an hour a year…as long as it works for you. Choose something to distract your mind from spiralling or something to soothe your soul. It all counts.