How I economise my time and why I want to stop

Back in December, before I started my Happiness Project, I decided I wanted to try and include ‘follow your gut’ time in my days. This is still a work in progress, perhaps it’s because it’s a pretty vague resolution. But I also suspect it might have something to do with how I economise my time (or think of it in economic terms) without even realising it.

Before this year I would have said I knew nothing about economics. This is still kind of true, if we’re thinking of economics in terms of all that mind-boggling mathematic theory. If, however, we’re thinking of economics in terms of how we speak, act and think in our day to day lives – I am much more economic than I thought.

How I economise my time

I’ve written before about how I find relaxation, or follow your gut time, challenging because of the pressure I feel to fill my time well. Instead of tuning into myself and listening to what I truly want/need, I try to find the thing that will be the most beneficial to me. I look for the highest cost-benefit in terms of my time. The thing that will give me the most reward; be that in most pleasure gained or most useful thing read.

This is economic thinking, and it’s only after reading Philip Roscoe’s A Richer Life that I realise I think this way all the time. For example when I compare options in the supermarket, or flight prices on a comparison site. We all think in economic terms ALL THE TIME. If you’re interested I really recommend reading Roscoe’s book.

Why I don’t want to economise my time

I feel like thinking of time in these economic terms is dangerous. It means we have the potential to miss out on all the great, spontaneous things that make life full of joy. The things that happen now, in the moment.

Fellow Happiness Project blogger Jenni wrote a fab post about this. ‘Be Happier in the Now‘; as Jenni says this is kind of the aim of a Happiness Project. Learning to identify the things that we already have in our lives that bring us joy. Rather than figuring out what the long term benefits will be of an activity, or considering the most efficient way to spend our time to help towards some future goal.

I want to be mindful with my time

An awareness of ‘now is now’ can have its pitfalls, potentially making us feel we need to do everything all at once. But I do think being mindful about the way we’re thinking, and even talking about, our time is the way to go.

I love these few sentences in the conclusion of Roscoe’s book:

“A life lived well, to the full, will be replete with dead ends, about turns, experiments and chances, far richer than a neat parade of rational, calculative choices. I would contend that economics has little place in our personal lives: let them be bounteous, generous and overflowing, and be richer for it” – A Richer Life, Philip Roscoe

Do you notice yourself talking in economic terms, or thinking of your time in this way? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

2 comments on “How I economise my time and why I want to stop

  1. Nice project!
    I like the way you write.
    Keep going!

    I am a multipotentialite like you. I like how you present your weekly objectives.

    Multitasking? oh my god! I am now reading your blog, sending an email to my boss, chatting with a friend through whatsapp and making myself a snack.

  2. Thanks for reading, and for your comment Guillermo! I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and like the sound of my happiness project.

    It’s nice to know I have a fellow multipotentialite reading 🙂

    Yes, I think it is especially hard for us multipotentialites to deal with multi-tasking. I still find myself doing it loads, even though I’m trying not to. But I think being aware of it is definitely a step in the right direction. It sounds like you’re aware of yourself doing it, so that’s good. I think with things like whatsapp and emails it is so easy to feel like we can do them at the same time as something else. But actually it really does take our attention away from whatever it is we want to focus on. The other day I was watching a movie and picked up my phone to whatsapp someone, but then stopped myself so I could just enjoy the movie instead!

    Let me know if you find anything that’s particularly helpful when it comes to not multi-tasking.

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