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.