Last week I talked about time, and this week I wanted to spend a bit of that time on some self-reflection and what that means for me and for balance in my life.
So what do I do with that last 10 hours that’s my truly free, unscheduled, not normally filled time?
I’d like to say that I spend it sewing or making jewelry or doing more writing. In reality, it probably ends up being additional TV time a lot, at least lately. I checked my Get Your Words Out habit tracking spreadsheet, and I’m actually averaging a little over 21 hours a month on various writing projects, be that novels, fanfic, editing, blog posts, or what have you. So That’s a solid 1-4 hours a month that I’m spending on writing above and beyond the 17 I did this past month for Camp NaNoWriMo. That’s almost half my free hours on average, but there are still other things I want to do, other priorities I want to set in my life.
I have some projects lined up, so a lot of that time is going to be spent sewing over the next few months. I’m working on my Halloween costume (two of four projects completed) which is my priority for August. I still have to figure out the shirt (and whether I’m buying or sewing it) but I’ve got time to figure it out. After that, I’m sewing a fairly realistic Regency period dress to wear to a friend’s wedding in December. I have the fabric and the pattern and I think I have the notations I need (or at least most of them) so that will be my project as soon as I’m done with Halloween preparations. After that I have some plans for Christmas presents that involve sewing.
If I can look back at the end of the year and feel that I’ve spent most of my extra free time (those 10 unscheduled hours) on things like sewing projects and reading great books, I’ll be happy with that. There might be the occasional random commission project (I did an Index for someone recently, and I’m sewing more memory bears for someone else in the near future) and those are nice, especially when they’re creative projects like the memory bears.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what a good life looks like for me personally and how I can get myself closer to that right now without having to wait for more time or money or whatever I feel is preventing me from getting there. Spending more time on creative pursuits, especially ones that have an end result that includes a finished product I get to keep and use again or give someone as a gift, feels like a great first step toward the kind of life I want to be living.
Thank you for coming along for the ride the past two weeks as I analyzed how I spend my time and how I wish I were spending my time. Self-reflection is an important thing to include in your life, especially if there’s stress or unhappiness in it. Self-reflection can help you find the sources of that unhappiness or stress, and sometimes it can point you in a direction for positive change. I’m relatively happy with my life right now, but there are some stressful things in the background, and one of the best ways for me to relieve stress is to do something productive, whether that’s sorting a box so I can clear out more of my spare room or sewing something I’ll be able to wear again and again. Doing something positive and productive helps settle the nervous energy stress induces and helps me find a better balance in the moment, even if it doesn’t solve the issue causing stress. It’s good to have these strategies since you don’t always have control over the thing causing you stress.
This isn’t the first time I’ve stopped to look at how I’m spending my time and energy. It’s something I do when I start feeling out of sorts with my life in whatever way. It might be that I’m feeling overwhelmed and I need to find someplace to cut back so I can have more energy for everything else. It might be when I haven’t been writing much and I want to see if I can get that habit back in gear again. It might be in December when I suddenly have more free time again. This kind of self-reflection helps me keep my life in balance. It gives me the option of adjusting my priorities or my schedule. Sometimes, it functions as a giant reset button for both.
I hope you have space for positive self-reflection in your life and can use it to better align your life as it is with your life as you want it to be.