Scott’s Thoughts: Mindful Leisure

“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”

-William Faulkner, American writer

Do you choose how you spend your time? I don’t mean in those moments when you’re responding to clients, or putting out fires, or handling life’s unexpected detours. When the smoke clears and you see a gap in the schedule, are you consciously making a choice what to do with that time?

Living in a reactionary pattern of crisis-of-the-moment management has the unpleasant side effect of distracting us from making the most of our unscheduled time. When the burden lifts, we’re all too happy to flop down and look for a little mindless recovery. On one hand, it’s understandable: Our brains need a break! On the other, we may be missing out on a great opportunity.

In life, there are activities which recharge us mentally and physically. Generally speaking, television is not. Nor is Candy Crush, or getting into political arguments on Facebook. But activities like brisk walks, reading imaginative fiction, and building a couch cushion fort with your kids can be.

Who we become has more to do with what we choose to do with our unstructured time than it does our “must do” time. What you decide to do in this time will shape your character and the quality of your life far more than you might think.

Look at your schedule for the week and identify those times when you’re most likely to have unstructured time. Now, structure it a little. But don’t build yourself a fresh fortress of work, but make a plan to pursue something that recharges you and reinforces the direction you want to go.

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