I have been reading a book called The Happiness Project by Grechen Rubin. It is an interesting book by a woman who wasn’t unhappy, but thought she could be happier. So she embarked on a year long project where she researched and addressed different areas of happiness in her life each month. It has some great tips, but of course not everything can apply to your own life. But it has made me look at my own life and think about the areas that I am not happy with and how I can address that.
What is it in my life that is holding me back? I came up with two elements that affect most people: time and money.
Time and money. It sounds so simple. Just two little areas to change in my life, then I will be super happy. Hmmm.
What do I need more time for? Let me make a list (yes, I am a list person, though I loathe the whole ‘bucket list’ concept that people bang on about)! This is my list – writing, painting, sewing, gardening…all my creative pursuits really. I want time to have a tidier house and actually get the folding put away as soon as it is done rather than sitting on the dining table all week driving me nuts. I also want time for exercise, because I know that if I exercised I would have more energy, lose weight and generally feel better. I also want more time to spend time with my children just hanging out. I also think that if I had more time, I wouldn’t be so stressed trying to get everything done, and therefore I wouldn’t be so cranky and grouchy as well.
I have always thought the solution was to not work. To quit my job. Don’t get me wrong. I have quite a good job that I actually don’t mind, but at the end of the day I would rather not work at all. But I have accepted that since I need money, quitting work really won’t be happening in the too near (or even distant) future! Some people say that money doesn’t buy happiness. Technically money does not buy happiness, but like most people, it is the main source of my unhappiness and stress.
So back to time and money. I can’t do too much about the money side of my double edged sword at the moment. But I can do something about time. I know I can be more effective with my time. I know that when I do have some time, I am usually too tired to do anything with it, so if I can force myself to do some exercise (I am generally not a lover of exercise), I will get more energy to make better use of my time.
I did start doing a couple of things this week. I hate the drive home from work. I leave work feeling okay, but an hour and 15 minutes later I arrive home exhausted and resentful of the loss of time and energy. I have been downloading audiobooks from audible.com for the kids. I downloaded one of my childhood all time favourites (The Secret Garden) and have started listening to that whilst driving home. I arrived home feeling happier and not so tired. A much more pleasant way to spend the time.
I have started exercise with baby steps. I usually get up at about 5:15am and always say that I just can’t get up any earlier. But then I usually sit on the computer for 15 minutes checking Facebook and the news. So a couple of mornings this week I just did 10 or 15 minutes on the treadmill instead. And I did feel more energetic going to work – so theory of doing exercise to gain energy is true!
So here’s my plan…work at getting the most out of the time I have and work out where I can gain efficiencies to do all the things that will make me happier. I will be disciplined to make time to do the things I want to do. I will cut back on time wasting activities, such as spending aimless time on Facebook. That doesn’t mean I will stop using Facebook, but sometimes I do sit there blankly just seeing if there is anything interesting. And generally there isn’t because people are off doing real things and having a life!
And also because I am a good person and believe in karma, maybe the money will just come by itself! Now, I am off to buy a lotto ticket…