Happiness is a matter of time, by Karen Little


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Happiness is knowing how your time will be spent, even if it is spent doing something you dislike. Sadness is groping around for something to do because nothing has been planned.


When people seemingly always have too much time on their hands, it is easy for them to get trapped in passive activities, like excessively watching TV, playing computer games, or becoming over involved in social media. They rely on activities to be created for them, instead of creating activities for themselves. Reliance on passive activities to fill time can lead to sadness and even deep depression.


Habitual passive activity can be stopped, but it takes research and a few weeks for the habit to be broken. Here is how to start:

  1. Identify 7 to 20 activities that make you happy. Spend a few days to work up a list. Rank which of these activities is easiest to do given the resources (money, time, tools, etc.) you have.

  2. If you could do all the activities you love, determine how much time you could spend doing them if they were distributed on a weekly basis.

  3. Once you understand what you like doing, create a daily checklist that includes what you need to do, plus what you want to do. This becomes an ongoing list that balances what must be done against what you'd like to do. Certainly include some passive activities, but make sure those passive activities don't fill all your extra time.

  4. Review and track your activities daily, pushing yourself to become more actively involved in those things you love.

I use Google Docs for my Activity Diary, but any type of notetaking or word processing app will work. Starting by writing down the date and day, I list all the things I want or have to do. When I do one of those things, I either cross it out or change the color of the text.


An Activity Diary will keep you on top of doing things that you might have avoided doing in the past. It also provides reminders that you can do what you love to do when you quit being overly passive.


On a daily basis, copy yesterday's list, changing the date and day when you do so. Delete all type-colored or crossed-out items. Add happy "to do" items as needed. By keeping this up, especially by increasing your ideas of things to do, you won't fall back into passive habits.


The Internet provides many more detailed ideas on how to end passivity. Use search phrases like the following to find them:


How to break passive addiction to entertainment

How to get out of a rut

How to identify what you love to do


Simple time management techniques


Links:


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Written by Karen Little of Sketch-Views



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