I think it was Ted Hughes who said, “Nothing is free. Everything has to be paid for.” In fact, I’ve been hearing some iteration of that saying all my life. My family and close influences have always told me that nothing in life is free. And in many ways, they’re quite right. All life is a balance, and usually that balance is maintained by taking from column “A” and dropping into column “B”.
This is why I’ve always been fascinated by the term “free time.” To be clear, this is the term used to define the period of time where one is not required to work, or has the time to spare to engage in leisure activities. In recents weeks, people have been finding themselves with loads of “free” time and have often found themselves at a loss as to how to fill it.
Despite the current state of things, your time is certainly not free. Whenever you surrender your time for one thing, it usually comes at the cost of another. Consider this: It’s Sunday afternoon. You’ve followed whatever routine and habits your household adheres to and perhaps you’ve enjoyed Sunday brunch or some pre-planned meal.
Now comes the decision as to what you’ll do with your afternoon. Will you do some household chores? If you’re a homeowner, that list is never complete. Perhaps you could have a workout. Maybe you need to assess your taxes, complete paperwork needed for work on Monday, play with your kids or call you mother. The chances are that whatever choice you make will take away from everything else. If you choose to assess your taxes or focus on paperwork for your job, you’ll be ignoring your kids and sitting on your rump as opposed to getting some exercise.
“Nothing Of Value Is Free. Even The Breath Of Life Is Purchased At Birth Only Through Gasping Effort And Pain.”– Robert Heinlein, author of Stranger in a Strange Land
At the end of the day, it all comes down to proper time management. Being able to decide how to accomplish things through the course of your day in conjunction with keeping deadlines is invaluable, whether it’s for your home or your work. Believe it or not, there is no such thing as multitasking.
Don’t believe me? Think about it… No matter how many tasks you think you’re doing simultaneously, you’re only ever actively doing one thing at a time. Even when you have two things on the go, one of them is usually progressing on its own while you’re attending to the other.
My job uses a colourful term referred to as “task sequencing.” This follows on the coattails of what I mentioned above, where you aren’t so much doing two things at once but doing one thing after another respectively, based on their importance. I may be getting on a bit of a rant here, and being a bit too specific and/or technical. My only point is that even in the midst of all this “free” time, one should be mindful of how their time is put to use.
If you do find yourself with some of this so-called free time, be sure to use it constructively. After all, idle hands lead to idle minds. It may be the perfect time to get to that book you’ve been dying to read or try and learn that second language. Online learning and courses are become all the rage, especially as a semi-permanent after-effect of a self-isolated world. Either way, when one is not exercising the body, one should be exercising the mind. So be sure to fill your time constructively. Not only will it pass the time, you will be all the better for it. ☯