Define Your Time

Time is this fleeting thing.  We all have the same amount as everyone else and nothing we do can make it multiply.  There are a multitude of ways to approach handling your time – from those that encourage people to put all tasks into your calendar or to base your tasks on your current availability of context, time, energy, and priority.  I’m certainly one that prefers the latter approach since if I fill my calendar with tasks, I will simply avoid doing anything in that slot.

You could even say that I’ve taken that idea of choosing tasks based on context, time, energy, and priority and put my own personal spin on it.  I’ve even given it a fun name: “Whim time.”  This term might even sound like an oxymoron, how can those two words fit together?  Whim is defined as – “a capricious or eccentric and often sudden idea or turn of the mind: fancy.”

For me, “whim time” is when I listen to myself about what I feel like doing – this can be productive or it can be time for rejuvenating.  It’s about paying attention to my mood and using that to help determine what I will work on.  For instance, there is something about making phone calls – to search out speakers for the support group, or following up on insurance issues, or whatever else – that may mean playing phone tag, which I typically avoid.  Yet, there are times that I am happy to tackle that process – and it makes sense to take advantage of that when it strikes.  (This also doesn’t mean that I only wait for the mood to work on those tasks.)

There’s something light and easy-going about doing things according to my mood or more correctly called my state of mind.  I am not being a taskmaster upon myself yet I can get plenty of things accomplished.  When I can use my whim time as I’ve set it up – to make decisions about what I will do with my time and to do those things – I have a great feeling at the end of the day.  It feels productive in the best way – being mindful of where I am at – both mentally and physically.

Sometimes, my “whim time” turns into escapism.  This is not what I set out for my time.  It’s a behavior that the equivalent to burying my head in the sand and ignoring both what’s good for me and what needs to be worked on.  When this happens I feel horrible.  In this age with all the possible ways we can distract ourselves and escape; it’s easy to slip into this.  I wonder if it’s not even more of a temptation with our never-ending to-do lists.  Is there ever a time when you are free from more tasks that need your attention?

I’ve talked about being mindful of how you use your time (in the blog, Use Your Time Intentionally) and I’ve talked about finding ways to make your tasks fun (in the blog, Make It Fun).  In many ways, my “whim time” is my combination of these two principles (and somehow David Allen’s Getting Things Done).  I didn’t set out to create this, but this is what it evolved into over time.

Maybe “Whim Time” is something you can use for yourself.  Maybe it’s not.  You are welcome to it, if you want yet I would encourage you to find your own way to define your time that makes sense to you and for your life.  Experiment with different ways to handle your time, observe what works and what doesn’t (and this isn’t always obvious from one or two tries) and see what develops for yourself.  It really doesn’t matter what you come up with, as long as it works for you.

I’d love to hear what works for you and how you got there. 🙂

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