Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Taking the time to do something good for yourself

How many things do you have on your long-term "to do" list? How long have they been there? How often do you think to yourself, "If I only had the time, I'd ..." Well, look: If you're stressing about work, or school, or family, then every once in a while you have to make the time for yourself and do that thing on your to-do list. Take the day off from work. Just one day! The company won't grind to a halt without you. Or play hookey from school, whether it's high school, college, or graduate school. Come on, you can make up for one missed day. Do whatever it is you've been putting off. Zone out in front of the TV and watch your two favorite movies (with time for a nap between) while everyone else is at work or school. Go for a long drive in the country, off the beaten path, and stop a few times to admire the view. Or spend the day window-shopping downtown. Spend a few hours at a coffee house (or a tea house!) -- just you, your iPod, and a couple of newspapers or that book you've been meaning to sink your teeth into.

Or perhaps there's something longer-term you've been putting off, like going back to school, learning another language, or learning how to build and run your own website. These are all investments in your future. "I couldn't possible find the time now," you may think. But you would be surprised at how you can find the time ... how much free time you can find by stripping away the less important things. Such as watching TV shows that, once you stop watching, you realize you can soon forget. Or following an ongoing news story too intently. You don't have to catch every update!

In other words, instead of waiting for the time you need to appear, or trying to finish up a jumble of minor tasks before attempting to start a large one, make the time by doing what you want or what you know is good for you in the long run. Start it, and you will instinctively pare down the flurry around you to the bare essentials of what is most important in your life ... and most important for your well-being.

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