3 Ways I spend My Time

Helping others, productive puttering, and time well wasted. Oh, by the way, that last one doesn’t refer to drug use.

Now that I’ve enjoyed my first two years of Movin On, I’ve looked back at how I spent my time. I’m able to divide it into three types. Let’s work our way up through this mental food chain.

What sort of activities are included in the term time well wasted?

I consider these examples as self-indulgence, for which I don’t want to make any apologies. I include reading a good spy novel or watching the birds go to and from our bird feeder. The critical aspect is that no one but myself is better off – and even at that, it is a bit of a stretch sometimes.

So, for example, if I was fortunate enough to take a cruise to explore the history of central Europe, then it was time well wasted. If, however, I returned and balanced that experience by sharing videos to those who are armchair travellers, then at least part of the experience becomes productive puttering.

Examples of productive puttering include cleaning up the house, shopping or going to the dentist. They are activities that I would do anyway with no world-changing connotations. They would mainly be invisible as a way of spending my time. Think, “Where did the day go?”

Lastly, helping others involves paying attention to the needs of family members, neighbours, and move out into the global scope of international concerns. Volunteering is one concrete example of helping others. Making a donation would count in this category as with shovelling the neighbours walk during the winter. It can be a small action that goes unrewarded, to a by-product that is helpful personally, such as a tax donation.

I found that keeping these three ideas in balance helps me to have a much happier life. That doesn’t mean that the concept is to spend an equal amount of time on each. That is unrealistic in real life. But when I reflect on my mental health and realize that it isn’t quite what I would like it to be, I always check the balance of three these three ways of spending my time. I almost always find that one of the three has taken over.

I listen to that reflection and change. I reduce the time on the highest one and increase the time on the neglected one. I get back to a book I’ve overlooked or start viewing the backlog of Ted Talk videos. I volunteer or review where I could increase my commitment to others – then do it.

About the Cryptic Featured Image: Left to right, time well wasted, productive puttering, and helping others.

Take 1 minute. Set your timer right now. And just think about how you spent yesterday. The first question to answer; out of your 16 waking hours, how much time did you spend in each category? The second question to answer; how happy were you as an average score for the whole day-10 is blissfully happy to 0 as being very depressed or sad?

If your score is 5 or below and has been for 3 days in a row, then I encourage you to call your doctor or local counselling service and get an appointment to talk about how you are doing.

Often appointments can be weeks or months away. If so, call a local helpline. In Alberta call toll-free 24-hour helpline 1-866-2322.

My thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this blog possible.

Glenn Walmsley