The 7 Joys of Time Well Spent and How to Realize Them

Pathway in field leading to the horizonSince launching The New Pursuit I have received countless well wishes from friends and strangers-turned-new-friends alike. The message of living deeply in life and nature seems to be resonating with many. I am quite humbled by it all, especially the number of people who have decided to subscribe to receive free updates.

Many of those who know me have asked, “How do you find the time to do it?”

With three small children (ages 7, 5 and 1) buzzing around, a household to keep running and a commute that sometimes finds me in the car for 2-3 hours a day, time could become something of a challenge.

But only if I let it.

I am taking three major steps in life that have allowed me to avoid the worry of ‘finding’ time:

•    I am eliminating the consumption of things that don’t add value to my day
•    I am changing my perspective on time by focusing on only what I can control in the present moment.
•    I am focusing on a short list of priorities and have let incessant multi-tasking fall by the wayside.

The end result of all this time well spent has been a new set of joys in my life – joys that I believe we can all realize:

  • The Joy of Mindful Presence. I know what I can and cannot control and allow what is to be. This fullness of experience is deep and profound. And with children and a loving spouse, this is worth its weight in gold.
  • The Joy of Satisfaction. By focusing on fewer things and setting the right priorities I get more things done and feel a better sense of accomplishment both personally and professionally.
  • The Joy of Creativity. When you limit consumption of shallow, artificial things you don’t become a slave them. Instead, you have more time to pursue the creative side of our being that we are all endowed with. I write, I speak, I play music, I play silly, made up games with my kids.
  • The Joy of Happiness. I am no longer distracted by things I consider frivolous or superficial. Everything I do I do with intent – and that makes me happy. So sure, I can’t debate that fourth-and-long play with 30 seconds to go in the fourth quarter during last night’s football game or what happened on American Idol, but I’m OK with that.
  • The Joy of Clarity. A de-cluttered mind is a wellspring of insight and clarity. Clear focus is a pathway to achievement. My eyes have opened to what I now want to do with my life – and that is an awesome feeling.
  • The Joy of Bonding. More time to spend with friends, loved ones and Nature sustains the human need and desire for bonding with life. Children get more face time with their parents and families thrive. Neighbors can begin to get to know each other again. Go figure.
  • The Joy of Contemplation. The six previous joys are a springboard for deeper contemplation of our place in this world and universe. Take a few minutes each night to gaze up at the stars before going to bed — you’ll know what I mean.

This is road that I have not yet finished traveling. It takes time and effort. But I am inspired to keep moving forward.

In his book “The Art of Being Minimalist”, Everett Bogue talks a lot about taking back our valuable time; how when you flail from one activity to the next you are taking away precious value in your life. By applying his 14 steps for saving valuable time I have steadily changed everything from how often I check email to where I focus my time. Everett’s concept of ‘timejacking’ is spot on. Leo Babauta has countless posts* at Zen Habits that have been invaluable. Oh, and don’t forget to take time to relax too. Tammy Strobel’s 22 Ways to Practice the Art of Relaxation will leave you wanting more.

There are many resources out there to help you in this journey. Take that first step and start building some momentum. You won’t regret it.

Be well,

* Here are a few of those Zen Habits posts:

(If this post added some value to your day, please take a moment and share it. Re-tweets are great. Many thanks.)

[Image: Ben Heine via flickr]

6 Responses to “The 7 Joys of Time Well Spent and How to Realize Them”
  1. Eric Normand says:

    The Joy of Leisure

    Great list. Keep it up.

  2. Bill Gerlach says:

    Eric — Ah, yes… very important indeed. Especially as the gardening season is upon us in the northeast. Be well!

  3. André says:

    What an excellent piece. Thank you.

  4. Bill Gerlach says:

    Thanks, Andre. So glad you enjoyed it. Be well!

  5. Ingrid says:

    Great post Bill!

    Just noticed you added Cohabitaire to your blog roll – thank you so much for your ongoing support! Proud to now be displaying a link to the New Pursuit.

    Take care, Ingrid.

  6. Bill Gerlach says:

    Any time, Ingrid. I love your site. And thanks to you for the nod as well. Be well! BTW — nice to learn your name… ;-)