We’re all just so busy. Working, studying, raising kids, planning for the future. Sometimes, for those of us tethered to all these activities by the computer, it can seem like we just don’t get enough time to unplug – literally or figuratively. Here are a few tips on how to reclaim the spare time you may recall having once had to spend on yourself. These come courtesy of Kari Henley and you can read her whole article about Reclaiming Spare Time here. Kari says: Email Self-Control — Declutter your inbox by unsubscribing to anything you don’t need or read regularly, and try not to continue long email conversations that aren’t necessary. One of Therese Borchard’s tricks is to take weekend breaks from her computer. Imagine! This is a great way to scrounge up a ton of free time — think of it as email Sabbath, (Reading this column, however, is an acceptable exception). Social Networking is junk food, plain and simple. Let’s face it — Facebook is the Doritos of friendships and Twitter is a super size box of Fries. Both are tempting, and both are ultimately not all that healthy. Take the time for some “slow food” — home-cooked friendships that require face-to-face time. If you are IM’ing someone in your office, get up and try walking over for a change. Facebooking your best friend? Pick up the phone or stop by; imagine how you look from space, hunched over terminals sharing the daily chatter. Find the “in-between” moments of the day to embrace as spare time. Driving is a great opportunity to do some deep breathing, turn off the noise in your head, and notice the scenery around you, rather than listening to talk radio, eating, or talking on the cell phone. Find the moments in the shower, doing dishes or walking the dog to flatten out as buffer zones of nothingness. Force yourself to be bored. Remember being bored? It is the MacDaddy of spare time. Kids today think five or six seconds of spare time equals being bored, and many adults’ tolerance for unfilled moments is not much better. Set aside several hours once a month with nothing particular to do and see how it affects you.
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