A couple weeks back, I was inspired to write about the relation between wisdom and how we choose to spend our time. Wasted time rarely, if ever, makes us any wiser, or our lives any more vibrant. So today, I want to follow that post up with a list of actual practical ways we can avoid frittering away our hours and days.
Instead of going to Facebook, Netflix, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., why not try any one (or two, or three, or six) of the following:
1. Reading a book. One with pages made out of paper. Visit your local library, and if you don’t have a card already, for pity’s sake, get one.
2. Bible study. Whether on your own, with a friend, or a group, digging into the Word is always a good way to spend your time.
3. Writing something. Writing anything! You don’t even have to be a writer. Start a journal, or send a surprise letter to an old friend.
4. Exercising. Go climb a mountain, or join a gym, or ride a bike. Find something you actually enjoy doing, so it doesn’t feel like a chore.
5. Taking a long walk (don’t forget to stop and smell the roses).
6. Taking a short walk (if time is of the essence).
7. Tidying up. Clean out a drawer that’s gotten junked up, a surface that always accumulates clutter, or even tackle an entire room that really needs it.
8. Popping on a record and dancing like nobody’s watching.
9. Listening to an audio-book. There are hundreds of classics available for free on Librivox.org! And this is one you can combine with other items on the list. Win-win.
10. Learning a productive new skill. Sewing! Knitting! Gardening! Cooking! Salsa dancing! Origami! Guitar! The possibilities are endless. It feels so good to have something to show for our time. Spend an hour on YouTube, and you find yourself wondering where it went. Spend an hour painting a watercolor, and you can always see exactly where it went.
11. Trying a new recipe. Or whipping up an old favorite!
12. If you have a day, take a day trip. There are probably all kinds of cool places to explore within easy driving distance of where you live. Especially if you live in Virginia, like I do. Find somewhere new, or visit a place you haven’t seen in years. Don’t forget to take lots a pictures.
13. Tackling a DIY or crafty project. Your Pinterest boards are probably full of them. So pick one and actually do it! Make that raised garden bed! Or recover those old living room cushions!
14. People watching. Find a bench in a public place. Sit there. Think deep thoughts about everyone you see.
15. Making a card or writing a letter. I know I mentioned letter-writing already, but it’s going down again. Everyone should try it.
16. Doing a crossword puzzle, or hand-written brain-teaser of your choice. Your brain will thank you later.
17. Memorizing a poem. According to Lemony Snicket, “Everyone should be able to do one card trick, tell two jokes, and recite three poems, in case they are ever trapped in an elevator.” So try learning a card trick, as well.
18. Watching a documentary. OK, so it involves a screen. But hopefully you’ll learn something, so I’m overlooking that on this one.
19. Finding junk to get rid of. Clean out your closets! Emancipate your cupboards! Purge your shelves! It feels amazing.
20. Rearranging the furniture. If you’ve already undertaken #7 and #19, this will be more fun.
21. Volunteering. It’s more blessed to give than receive, after all. Find a cause you care about, and give a little of your time towards furthering it.
The great thing about lists is that you can always add to them. So if you guys have any more suggestions, my ears are open!