Simplify Extra Time!

So today, as we were stuck sitting inside (yet again) thanks to Mother Nature’s plans to thwart any thoughts of activities outside the walls of our home, I realized there are likely so many others out there struggling with the same thing. Yep, the ever-dreaded drone of boredom and feelings of having wasted time but no set plans to do anything with it.

As adults, we get tend to get antsy and feel irritable when we have extra unplanned time on our hands. But, let’s be honest, we also secretly love the opportunity to have that time to potentially accomplish things around the house or in our lives. Reorganize the grocery dumping ground/kid self-serve feeding and rummaging station (AKA pantry)? Bless your enthusiasm and may the odds be ever in your favor! Clean out freezer? Mentally prepare yourself to find things looooong forgotten and make sure your trash day is tomorrow! Start one of the numerous workout plans you’ve pinned to your Pinterest’s fitness board? Time to get your sweat on! Start that blog, personal goal, or Pinterest project you have had the best intentions about for months now? Believe me, totally worth the time and energy involved! Will it be easy to start something like one of those things I mentioned? Absolutely not. Will it feel beyond amazing when you are done? You bet your patootie it will be!!! Here are some other tips that have helped me cure boredom AND feel accomplished over the years.

What time is it? Time to get organized!

  • Make a list (yes, you know me well enough by now that I have lists for everything!). Humor me for a few minutes here. Imagine yourself having a couple extra hours on your hands and a strong sense of feeling motivated. Now imagine what happens historically every time you have you sit there thinking of all the things you could accomplish? Do you start a major project only to lose motivation or have it branch out into 7 other side projects? Do you end up in bed that night wondering what happened to that precious time of yours yet again? Me too. Think about if you had a sort of self-honey-do list for those days with manageable items already listed out so you could simply pick one instead? Instead of getting distracted by other projects you can write those projects down on your existing list while you are focused like a laser on completing the 1 project you picked for the day. Disclaimer: you will likely never reach the end of your list because one project inevitably leads to another via the snowball theory but hey, for those of us in the Midwest this is likely a list for snowy days anyway so seems fitting, right?
  • Make sure your list is comprised of a range of projects including: menial tasks that only involve minimal hands on time (wash all bedding in the house and make up fresh beds); intermediate tasks (dust all blinds in the house and vacuum out window sills); big honker tasks (rearrange garage and figure out organization and storage once and for all). I also highly recommend including a “Self-Care Section” on your list because who of us doesn’t deserve to take some of our beloved extra time and use it selfishly? My list for this portion was so simple (go on a date with my hubby, find a new boutique in town and go shopping, schedule a mani/pedi, get a facial, buy a new best selling book and actually start reading it, mini family vacation, girls night out, etc). Balance is key with simplifying anything, you could go gung-ho and take every one of your extra hours to accomplish something but you will inevitably then come to dread your precious extra time. By balancing that extra time between accomplishing things you need to do and also rewarding yourself for those accomplishments you will come to enjoy that time instead.

Extra time is GOOD for you!

I could have also said that extra time can be good for you if you make that choice. I’m less than qualified to preach on personal goals and aspirations this but it’s something I feel strongly about so forging ahead anyway. Make sure you know what your own goals are…these are more than the projects you put on your list earlier, these are things to better yourself. Have you always wanted to learn another language? Would you get ahead professionally if only you could take a course in _____? Do you feel you have marital or parenting struggles? Are you wanting to get back in shape but don’t know where to start? Write down solutions to each one. These aren’t things you are going to tackle in an extra hour but they may be things you could spend time researching or get the ball rolling on at least!

What do I mean? Consider online classes or a membership to the library. There are so many resources out there at people’s fingertips and it’s so rare that people bother to use them. Take advantage! I got a library membership years ago and it’s been one of the best decisions of my personal and parenting life. They offer audio books that I can listen to on my morning commute so I am “reading” without feeling guilty about missing time at home with my family. They pointed me in the right direction to take absolutely FREE online classes which have helped me in so many ways (Excel class to make my reports stand out and get me recognized at my work, parenting psychological classes to make me realize what I am inadvertently doing wrong and all that I’m doing right as a floundering mom, secondary language courses that I can take to brush up before we take that next vacation out of the country). They also have information at your fingertips of events in/around the community and clubs you or your kids or spouse could join. Oh yeah, and they obviously have literature on every subject imaginable and those can spark ideas to start your own goals (investing in the stock market, learning new cooking techniques, starting your own blog!).

What about that exercise you keep meaning to get around to? First, figure out what you are interested in trying (or previously loved to do) for physical activity. Next, consider your budget and whether it’s feasible to have to pay for workout classes, gym memberships, or equipment. If it is, start researching what is convenient (and feasible!) with your real life. Take it from me, don’t waste your time or money on a gym across town, you say you will go but you won’t. Don’t get talked into the latest workout craze or your friend’s favorite workout class, Cycling & Zumba aren’t for everyone 😉 If your budget doesn’t allow for anything right now then make a budget plan so you can afford it in the near future and, in the meantime, look into any discounted options available. Lots of employers and insurance agencies offer discounted rates for gyms and you could also pay for a couple sessions of a class to learn the basics then continue at home to decrease expenses involved. In the interim before you can afford the gym membership, don’t give up on that goal with the flimsy excuse of being broke. Have you heard of our good friend YouTube? It has workout videos on literally anything you could possibly be interested in doing and you can just follow along at home!

Summing It Up!

Sorry friends, this one got a little lengthy and sparked more ideas on my end. So stay tuned for a follow up post regarding boredom cures for kids and tips to simplify that because we all knows kids don’t have ‘extra time’ they have ‘BOREDOM’. Thanks for reading today and please share with any acquaintances you know who are also struggling with how to handle extra time on their hands!

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