Making Time vs. Wasting Time

Take time to see the beauty in life

Take time to see the beauty in life

I had a very wise teenager in my car recently. I was driving my daughter and her friend somewhere and as they chatted, I listened and drove. (I think that’s my job now-driver and listener, at this stage of the game.) At one point, my daughter’s friend said, “I keep saying I don’t have time to do things, but the fact is that I just don’t make time for them. I have lots of time in my day and I waste way too much of it. Then I don’t have time for the things I have to do, or want to do. So I’m not saying, ‘I don’t have time,’ anymore. I will be honest and say, ‘I can’t make time for that.'”

Wow, pretty insightful for a teenager. Not that teenagers are not smart and clever, but it usually takes years and years for us to recognize how much time we waste on stupid things and how many things we miss by doing that. Even I had to sit back and think about all the time I waste on the Internet or watching TV. When I tell people I don’t have time to get to something, just what did I do all day that made me so late?

Of course, I do love TV, I admit it. There’s nothing wrong with watching some Walking Dead (which returns Feb. 10, yipee!) or Downton Abbey. Both offer a grand escape and are highly entertaining. But the channel surfing has to stop. The mornings I wake up and tell myself I will just watch a little TV with my tea and two hours later, cold tea at my side, I have watched nothing but crap. Seriously. So I move on to checking my email and two hours later I’ve looked at crap video clips and checked out a few websites that may be helpful in a work-related way (if I convince myself of it.) Luckily, this doesn’t happen every day or I would never leave the house. I do have responsibilities and a job, but on those rare days when I don’t have somewhere to go or something to do, I am quite disappointed in myself for not making better use of all that free time.

What is your major time waster and how can you get hold of it and wrestle it to the ground? Control it before it controls you, right? I’ve downloaded iTV on my iPad and I now only look for the TV shows I want to watch and keep the TV off all other times. I head into my office as soon as possible in the morning, where there is no television. Yes, there is a computer, but once I start working, it usually takes care of itself.

My last guilty pleasure is Facebook. I post every day and interact with friends and I love that. I read author FB posts and publishers, I check out what’s for sale at my favorite resale store. But mostly, I browse. Well, we all need some kind of vice, right?

 

Celebrities Without Makeup-Why Do We Care?

P1010021As I stood in line at Safeway I glanced at the celebrity rags lining the aisle. One of them shouted in large, bold print – “65 Stars Without Makeup!” On the cover of the rag are eight photos of famous women including Katie Holmes, Jennifer Lopez and Mila Kunis, all caught off guard sans eyeliner, lip gloss, bronzer and most with their hair pulled back or sporting serious bedhead. Inside, I’m assuming even more stars have been caught with their Covergirl left at home.

I stood there and looked around me at the women in line and walking around the store. How many of them, including me, would want their photo plastered on a magazine right about now? How many of them dolled themselves up to run to Safeway for that extra ricotta they forgot for tonight’s lasagna? Not me, no way. Sure, I had on jeans and a cute sweater. I may even have a bit of makeup on, but hell, I’m not ready for a photo shoot. And why should these women be hounded by photographers and not allowed to be normal?

I looked at the photos and saw beautiful, regular, average women. Sure, they didn’t look like their red-carpet selves, but who does at 8 a.m. on a run to Starbuck’s? Why should it be any different because they are celebrities? Yes, they chose this life and yes, being a celebrity has its perks (more zeros on a paycheck than the number of paychecks you’ve had). But why should this be part of the job? Nobody takes photos of teachers, doctors, or corporate CEOs on their way to get coffee and drop the kids at school. It’s not plastered all over the Internet and magazines that my neighbor wore denim on denim and skipped eyeliner and her fake eyelashes today.

I could have posted a link here to the magazine/rag, but I’m sure you can find it on your own if you need to. I suggest you just move on and leave them be. As for me, I am happy to be one of the many who can head out to Safeway without full makeup armor and a Badgley/Mischka gown. And if anyone dares to take a photo of me in my studio before noon, it won’t be pretty. But at least my neighbors won’t care.

A Year in Photos

My 365 photo for Jan. 1, 2013

“Infinite Possibilities”… My 365 photo for Jan. 1, 2013

I stumbled upon 365 Project a few weeks ago and decided to take the challenge. Quite simply, post one photo per day for an entire year. Doesn’t matter when you start, and even the content and quality of the photos are open. But just by committing to one photo per day, I have begun to see the world in a different way.

For one thing, I am always looking at things from a different angle. Whether it’s closer than usual, or perhaps from the side instead of straight on, I’ve learned to realize the beauty in even the smallest things.

Another fun capture

Another fun capture

A dear friend of mine has been on the site for ages, and not only is she a professional photographer with a keen eye for beauty, but she’s encouraging, thoughtful and funny as hell. If you want to see real beauty and fun shots, check out her 365 shots HERE.

And not only am I having a blast taking photos, choosing the best one for the day, manipulating them to B&W or sepia, but I’m learning from the photographers on the site. they are kind with their comments and helpful. I never would have thought to take such different, artistic photos until browsing all the great ideas on the site. Spend some time there and take a look, you won’t be bored, I assure you.

I see nature in a much different way now.

I see nature in a much different way now.

Check out my photos HERE and comment if you want. I’m open to criticism (polite, of course) and praise.

Don’t waste your time

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How often do you complain that you don’t have enough time to do all the things you want/need to do? Better yet, how often do you hear others complain about it? “If only there were 29 hours in a day,” or, “I can’t seem to catch up.” Yes, some people have overextended themselves, but most people just don’t know how to organize their time. In my life procrastination wastes a lot of my time, and believe me, I am a master at it. I practice a trifecta of avoidance, boredom, and lack of focus.

So, two simple questions to ask as we begin the new year:

1. What is the one thing you do that wastes the most time your life? Is it TV, video games, eating, Facebook or Twitter browsing, cleaning? Whatever it is, it is taking time away from what you really should be doing-and only you know what that is. Shouldn’t you be writing, working, cleaning, doing paperwork, exercising, etc.

OK, once you know what you are doing to waste time, make an agreement with yourself to recognize when you are doing this and ask yourself, “Do I have something more important to do right now?” If the answer is yes…go do it.

2. What is the one thing you did this past year that made you happy? Was it traveling, writing, reading, spending time with friends, cooking with your kids, etc.? Promise yourself right now to make time for what makes you happy. Don’t deny yourself those little things that make you smile. When you’re content, everything seems easier.

Now, I hear some of you saying, “But the thing I do that wastes time is the thing that makes me happy.” Nice try, Smartass. I’m not saying you can’t do those things anymore. I’m suggesting that you make specific time for those activities and stick to it. For example: if you love watching TV, and it’s your time waster, then look through the TV schedule and line up your favorite shows. Then make time to watch them as a reward for getting your responsibilities taken care of. No sitting down with the remote and mindlessly channel surfing for two hours when you’ve got paperwork to take care of.

Don’t beat yourself up if you grab the remote and plop on the couch. Just recognize it, think about whether you are avoiding something or really enjoying it. Avoiding something?- get it over with and go do it. Enjoying it and have some free time?- have fun.

Sounds simple, but I know it isn’t. Nobody’s perfect, especially me. But I am going to try this year and follow my own advice. Which means less TV and Facebook scrolling and more time for what I enjoy-movies with my daughter, writing, blogging, photography, reading and art.

Good luck! Oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR!