Is everything you do in your best interest?
I remember a time where I was captivated by the thought that I didn’t have enough time. Especially when I started my professional life and everything seemed to fall apart. I couldn’t do the things I did when I was in university when I had so much time on my hand, I literally didn’t know how to cope with this luxury.
After my school career was over, it was time for a new chapter in my life, my working career. Which still is one of the most stressing moments of my life, but I guess that’s also due to me being a rather rushed personality. Patience isn’t one of my strongest features. I’m working on it though.
Nonetheless, it felt like I didn’t have time to do anything and remember writing a blog post about it, about how much things I liked that I had to give up just to manage. Given, I left for work at 6 in the morning and was back home after 6 in the evening.
I don’t quite remember that real moment of realization that it could be worse and I was just exaggerating it all. I really started thinking about the parts of life that were sucking up all my precious time. I looked at how I wasted time commuting to work without really doing anything useful. This was something I had done during my commute to university, where I just stared out of the train window like a zombie or kept chatting on Whatsapp about nonsense. I just needed to use this time properly, because my work commute was about 4 hours of time a day and now about 2 hours. This time could be used efficiently.
Every day I came home having the feeling I didn’t do anything that was within my interests or hobbies. I had a phone that would easily blast the best quality video imaginable, it could be loaded with apps and I had a backpack that could also be filled with educational or recreational material.
I decided I would watch one episode of anime on my way to work and one on my way back. Give or take some exceptions, but it amounted to about 10 episodes a week. That was quite an achievement. I always had the feeling I had to cut out one of my favorite pastimes, but now it just neatly fit in my schedule. And to counter the argument: “but what will the people think of me when watching anime with cute girls doing cute stuff?” Simple, you don’t care. It’s your time, use it as you please. You’re not bothering anybody with it and those lurking at your screens have a hollow life themselves anyway. Now they have a dinner topic. You did them a favor.
I still had time left on my daily commute. An episode is about 24 minutes, minus the ops and eds I mostly skip because they don’t always fancy me. I realized I had some gap in my knowledge of literature and I wanted to stay on top of my professional career. I made it a habit to always carry one book in my bag (and several magazines). Sometimes it’s a work of fiction or non-fiction. I read several books over time and I’m really getting the hang of it. I read a book on my way to work OR my way home, not both.
I had one other desire I wanted to fulfill, learning. I love to learn. New languages, politics, economics, business. Anything that fills the endless craving for knowledge. Luckily there are tons of learning apps and influential blogs. At the last part of my journey I learn and/or read. There are many other things that can be done the few minutes I had left. Send a few text messages, quickly check the news etc.
Now for the other part of my life that sucked away my time, useless interactions with people I actually didn’t really care about. This is a very tough pill to swallow, since you have to admit that you’re better off with some people just not being around. Take a hard look at your contacts list on Whatsapp of Facebook. You’ll quickly realize there are a lot of people in your list that don’t care about you or your paths have gone their separate ways. There’s only a set of people that truly deserve your attention. Focus on those people that truly matter, and not the dozens who don’t.
I’ve heard many people say “I’m going to a party, I don’t really like that person, but I don’t have anything else to do.” Those are the same people that say the next day “I’m so busy.” They wouldn’t be, if they just said no and focused on what mattered to them. Saying no to somebody is not a crime if they don’t add value. I’ll admit it wasn’t easy, but tough choices are never easy. I now fully enjoy the things I like and don’t feel like I’m missing out on something. Of course, there is so much more to do, but at least my days feel fulfilled and not empty like before. At home I can really relax or go to friends. Time too valuable to be wasted.