Leadership

The fine art of wasting time

time

If your agenda looks anything like mine chances are some days you will feel like you’re the little ball bearing in a pinball machine, getting flung from one side to the other.

My days usually start with the getting ready for school routine “where’s my note/sock/shoe/bag” “there’s nothing to eat in this place” “why can’t you remember my excursion” “I told you I needed this today”  “I hate my hair/shoes/uniform” (you know the drill). The week days end with similar comments plus sport and activity pickups (sometimes an hour out of town) and the days are wedged with the demands of slightly (only slightly) taller people, sometimes with even taller egos.

It’s little wonder when I finally get through the door and know I won’t have to open it again until the next day I just want to close my eyes and breathe.

The reality is that I know this block of time will pass. I love my kids, I love my work, so I make it happen.

I’ve known for a really long time that making time for myself is a must and I’ve gone through various phases of integrating a mix of ‘lazy’ days, walking, catching up with friends… But it’s never been a routine and somehow this self care has never really stuck.

There has been one tough question that I’ve avoided for a long time;

Why is it that the things I treasure most – good people and wellbeing are the things I nurture least.

And I finally discovered at least one answer. I love productivity – and on the flip side; I find time wasting to be ridiculous, annoying and well, wasteful.

Uh huh ! As I dug a little deeper I thought of my nana who raised nine children on a very large farm, mostly by herself. There was always something to do, so it was done. Something about this ethic stuck.

Perhaps I could go on like this forever, however the beauty of getting older is gaining wisdom and wisdom tells me that a constant flurry of busy also negates those sweet moments in life that make it truly worthwhile. And I want that too.

My experience of wasting time this week caught me by surprise. Of course time wasting is not something I’ll ever be likely to plan out (well, the me of last week anyway) – however, on reflection these little moments have been so good for my productivity, creativity and general mood I may just consider how the fine art of wasting time plays out into my regular week…

On Monday afternoon I had an important pitch to deliver in Sydney. Nervous as hell (yet looking cool and calm) I traveled to the big smoke with my colleague, only realising when we arrived that we were early.

Early !

There was actually a buffer of time to check in to the hotel, to unload my heavy handbag and repack only essentials, to redo my hair and generally get into the zone. That wasted time meant I arrived at the venue de-nerved, confident and ready to go.

It continued… The following day a big meeting in another city was scheduled..

I woke up and walked. That walk was so invigorating and as I watched the busy commuters head down busily striding from transport to office I felt very pleased with myself for wasting just a bit more time.

On the flight I didn’t tap away on my laptop as usual, I slept – like a snoring baby, arriving at my destination replenished and ready for the conversation that was just about to be had.

And this morning, only mid week I’m wasting time, yet again as I write and simultaneously unpack the little, simple things that have made my week just a little more worthwhile. And while I may not be poised to run out and hug a tree I do feel at peace, and pleased with what’s already been achieved in this week.

There’s a lot written about the importance of wasting time for productivity, creativity and durability. I suppose the likelihood of embracing such strategy lies in our abilities to stomach the concept and perhaps to consider the notion of reframing ‘wasting time’ – self-care perhaps?

Personally I’m looking forward to some more opportunities to apply this.

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