Amanda Jolley

Studio Joy

How Wasting My Time Is Saving My Life

So far so good, 2014 is turning out to be an audacious year already with just one month down. The baggage I left behind seems to be staying there. The one I am feeling most freedom from is [Being too rigid with my time].

I, like so many of us, have been taught not to waste time, to use each moment to its fullest.

Well, I still believe that I should use each moment to its fullest, but my definition of wasting time has surely changed.

When I was younger, just beginning a professional career as an accountant and then a few years later beginning a family, I tried my hardest to stay organized, to keep up with correct social etiquette, to do all the things that I thought I was supposed to do as a career professional and a home manager. With so little time to accomplish so much, I studied books on time management, how to save steps and accomplish the most within the smallest amount of time. My focus was on getting things done. And when I didn’t, I really felt like a failure. I still remember the sadness I felt when I just didn’t get Christmas cards sent out one year. (Yea, maybe my priorities were a little askew.) Can anyone relate here?

These dry bones needed some life.

These dry bones needed some life.

Something has shifted inside of me recently.

Instead of saving steps, finding the most efficient path in accomplishing (fill in the blank) __________, I have begun wasting steps and time drastically. Instead of making the fewest steps to accomplish the most, I simply quit caring.

I have had a deep urge to move more for a long time, but old habits die hard, eh? Last May, I purchased a Fitbit Zip which encouraged me to increase my steps to a goal of 10,000 each day. This little device made me aware of my patterns of chair sitting, planting myself in front of the computer, and my amount of inactivity. The push from the Zip gave me the drive to get up and move more. I even began to enjoy running. (This is kind of a miracle.)

With a whole summer of movement, I became a bit nervous with winter approaching. I have an aversion to the cold and would seriously just like to hibernate. How would I maintain my new-found mobility when I find the out of doors too abrasive? Well, I’ve just bundled up and gotten out there as much as possible despite the temperature and I am surviving, no, I’m thriving. And as I’ve been walking all over this city, I recently had an aha moment.

I’m wasting steps and time, I’m being inefficient, and I am finally living!

All of life became a sanctuary

All of life became a sanctuary.

Instead of worrying about what I could be accomplishing during a time frame, I am just living in that moment. While I am still a fan of goal and priority setting, I am no longer micromanaging my time and movement. The strict blocks of time set on my calendar have been deleted. And so is the pressure to git ‘er done.

And while this may seems counter intuitive to accomplishing my goals, I am actually finding myself brimming with inspiration, dreams and drive to get things done.

The more I waste my time living life, the more time seems to grow.

I am finding that I am able to do all that is most important to me within the day, even with a little nap thrown in. I am doing the opposite of all those time management books and getting more done.

This is a growth thing for me. Something had to break free inside me for this to happen. My true self had to emerge from behind all the labels that I accepted as self.

This is also forcing me gently to truly prioritize the essentials of my life. Why am I here? What am I to do with this day? I am finding it easy to determine what I say YES to, and what gets a NO.

This is allowing me to accomplish my goals with room and space, not forcing a self-imposed, unreasonable time period just because it’s possible.

And now our dreams are coming true.

Last post I mentioned a possible space happening for my husband and I. Seems all is going well and looking good. I don’t want to announce any hurrah’s until all is said and done, but we are smiling today. And the most wonderful thing is that I am not stressing about the time frame in which things need to happen, about the most efficient way to accomplish all that lies ahead, or about being able to live up to ‘the dream.’ Instead, I’m walking to the coffee shop to enjoy time with a friend, dreaming and planning step after step on these city streets.

Come join me.

Come join me.

Would you like to join me in wasting your time?

Just start walking. And letting go. The whole process takes time, seasons, shifts, and the desire for freedom. Watch for beauty with every step. Take companions when you can whether they be human or canine.

My regular companion.

My regular companion.

And if you’d like, join me on Fitbit. (I’ve moved on to a Fitbit Force and really like, but the Zip was great as well.) I will cheer you on!

9 Comments on “How Wasting My Time Is Saving My Life”

  1. Your post is AMAZING because I am in the exact same place! I had a moment where I realized I was setting goals and as soon as I met one, I just set a new and more challenging new one…I wasn’t stopping and celebrating the accomplishments. I would continue setting goals until I frustrated myself in failure.

    I asked for, and received, a FitBit for Christmas. Recently, I wrote a short blog about how my fitbit was teaching me to be more INEFFICIENT and a better MULTITASKER. More ineffecient helping me to move more overall and a better multitasker because there are times when I could move, say, while waiting for something to finish in the microwave…or the oven or such. I have walked through our large yard at various points throughout the day just to get more steps in. The fresh air and subtle sounds have brought a refreshing joy back into my life. Thanks for writing out your thoughts and sharing them!

  2. This brings tears to my eyes because I wish I was in this place of solitude. My life is crazy and the more I say yes to, the more I feel like I am failing. Failing at everything. ….. Great post 🙂

  3. awesome! My year is beginning gently…I am allowing myself to heal and rest from the grueling last three years of work school and illness. My walks are slow and short and less and less uncomfortable. I had a few weeks of feeling lost and wondering what I was supposed to be doing but, I am thrilled with feeling better. and looking forward to a gentle and fulfilling year

  4. I just love that you are bundling up and getting out for Winter walks. The fresh (albeit cold) air this time of year is like no other. To me it is more refreshing because there is less of an opportunity to experience it in the cold weather months. This post was a breath of fresh air to read; it sounds so relaxed and full of life!

  5. Amanda, Love, love, love this post. I wasted my time today in a lovely encaustic workshop taught by Jeff Juhlin ( here on Maui:) Wishing some of my encaustic pals were here today and looky here, I found you this evening:) xoxoDianna

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