December 18, 2012

Making conscious use of my time

This weekend, I stuck around Dallas instead of flying home to NYC. BF flew in and we did a 5K Santa run with some friends, went to my company’s holiday party, and went to my first football game (the Steelers-Cowboys game at Cowboy Stadium). I had a wonderful time, but one of the best parts was not having to wake up at 3am CT on Monday morning. Bliss!

Instead, I got up at 7am and then kind of half-assed a strength workout. I’m at a different hotel this week than usual, and the equipment setup wasn’t ideal. Unfortunately, I used that as an excuse to modify my normal routine and honestly not do my best. Oops.

To make up for it, I figured I’d do a decent cardio workout that night – maybe a Flywheel class if I could get out of work on time, maybe some intervals on the elliptical at the hotel gym, or maybe some sort of DVD workout in my room. Lots of options!

Plans changed a bit when BF was tired and not feeling great, so we opted to go straight for dinner after I got out of work. We went to Green Papaya, an inexpensive and totally unpretentious Vietnamese restaurant, and both got big bowls of pho ga (chicken noodle soup). Nothing better than that for helping you fend off illness before it gets bad!

Continuing along the being-smart-and-responsible theme, I decided to skip my workout and instead just relax and watch a movie. But when we got back to the hotel and didn’t immediately see anything great, we turned on the Monday night football game and zoned out, each of us on our laptops. I barely paid any attention to the TV, and honestly just clicked around on a lot of websites without really paying a ton of attention to what I was reading. I wasn’t catching up on email, catching up on blog reading, or catching up on the news; I was just plain surfing the internet.

I suppose it shouldn’t have come as a big surprise when I looked at the clock and realized it was already past bedtime, but it did. Where had my night gone? I thought I was just messing around for ten minutes, but all of a sudden, I had no time left for what I had planned. I was really frustrated that I had let time slip away from me so easily, especially with recent reminders of just how precious every minute is. Instead of spending time getting things done, working toward a personal goal, or engaging with those I love, I had clicked my way around aimlessly and lost most of my Monday night. Ugh.

BF brought up a very interesting point, though, which I hadn’t stopped to consider: how is watching a movie any “more productive” than playing on the internet? When I stopped to dissect, I decided that the reason came down to conscious vs unconscious choices. Instead of consciously making the decision to watch a movie (which would not be productive, but would be totally relaxing), I had unconsciously spent ninety minutes browsing Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook (neither productive nor relaxing). I didn’t feel relaxed from my time on social networks; I actually just felt more stressed that I had wasted my time in that way.

I have always been a big believer in setting goals and working to achieve them based on conscious decisions. Browsing the internet, though, wasn’t in line with any of my goals, and I wished I had spent that time instead doing something that was important to me. One night is certainly not anything to beat myself up over, but as I think about the busy holiday season and upcoming new year, I want to make sure that I spend my time wisely going forward.

When I decide to relax and be totally unproductive, I want to be doing something that really makes me happy – whether that’s learning something new, keeping my body healthy with a good sweat session, or strengthening my relationships with friends/family. As clever and funny as some people are with their status messages and tweets, reading those isn’t quite my pathway to Zen; I’d rather read a good book. (Or sometimes, admittedly, some crappy chick lit – but that still relaxes me more than all the short status updates.)

How do you spend your weeknights and free time? Are you a crazy Type-A planner like me, who schedules even your relaxation, or do you like to go with the flow and just zone out (on whatever websites your mouse hand clicks)?


6 thoughts on “Making conscious use of my time”

  1. For me, web-browsing (particularly social media) isn’t especially relaxing. That said, a fair amount of my leisure time is spent on-line. I’m trying to make more of an effort to spend my downtime off-line, reading a book or catching up on the DVR, but it’s hard. I know this will be something I continue to work on in 2013.

  2. What helps me achieve my fitness goals and constantly move forward is military grade nutritionals. Their pre-workouts are awesome. They give me quick boost of energy and enhance my physical capacities. I am gaining muscle and strength, so I am ready for new and more challenging goals.

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