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In this post I want to discuss something very fun, yet very serious. Serious that is, if you value your time! Hopefully you have heard before and believe, that this is the best time in history to be a citizen of the world. This day and age is also the most fraught with challenges to being productive, aware and even fully alive as well. It is with this spirit I want to offer just a few suggestions on how to make the best of that idle time each of us has every week. These suggestions are listed in no particular order and can be done almost anywhere. I purposely stayed away from popular addictive apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter because, well, you probably use those enough and they aren’t that productive. Enjoy!
1. Read a book!
This is actually the only item on the list I purposely numbered. That’s because the old adage is truer today than ever: reading is truly fundamental. And yes, we all read a tremendous amount daily, but in the form of scattershot news reports, sports stories, blogs (just like this one), your Twitter feed, Facebook timeline, etc. But none of this compares to the singularity that comes from reading a book, carefully chosen on a topic that could possibly change your life. Reading a physical book is an experience that, to me, will never be replaced, and I’m not suggesting for one moment that reading on your smartphone can begin to do this. But what I am suggesting is that whenever you get a minute, make sure you have loaded onto your phone a book you are interested in so, you don’t blow brain cells while waiting for your takeout order.
2. Call someone.
Go figure right? Use a “smartphone” to actually make a phone call! Blasphemy I know. And by call someone I don’t mean your bff who, by the time you read this post you would have already spoken to them for a total of about two hours, I mean call that friend or loved one who popped into your head that you haven’t spoken to in forever. That Grandmother who you know has more days behind her than in front, or that Uncle who sent you birthday cards when you were young. This is the type of call I mean. Whenever I know I have a drive longer than 30 minutes, I scroll through my phone right before I pull off with the intention to make someone’s day. Remember Stevie Wonder: “I just called to say I love you!”
3. Write something “artistic.”
You are 100 times more creative than you think. Art is really anything that you create from thin air. We are all inspired daily from many angles, so now is the chance to get it out. So the next time you have a dentist’s appointment and they’re running late, take heed of the no phone call sign, and type a poem for your loved one. Type a letter to aforementioned G-ma (because there’s only one thing Grannies love more than unprompted phone calls: unprompted letters!). Maybe even start that blog post or story or book you have been meaning to start, but “haven’t found the time.” Now is the time, so start typing. I personally use my iPhone notepad for pretty much everything, but with Google Drive, Evernote and others, you can start creating something today.
4. Write a to do list.
Statistics show that something crazy like 90% of all wealthy people on the planet maintain active daily to do lists, while only 20% of poor people do. Is there any more needed for this point? If you don’t have a professional and personal to do list, maybe today is the day to start one. An active to do list was also the literally $1 Million advice given by Charles Schwab over 100 years ago that transformed companies’ fortunes. Think of the most important, read: relevant, 5 items to your success tomorrow and make sure you get them done before the end of the day. Repeat daily and watch your personal and professional productivity skyrocket. I constantly give myself items to complete and also maintain a daily to do list, and I can tell you from personal experience that there are few things more gratifying than completing your day’s list and getting a little closer to your goal. Hint: use your phone’s note pad!
5. Take a picture of something beautiful then contemplate its beauty.
Honestly, this is one of my favorite items on this entire list. The reason is simple. There is so much beauty all around us all the time, and if we’re not careful to stop and capture these beautiful images and beautiful moments we may end up believing what the news tells us about it being such an awful world. Of course the word “beautiful” is completely subjective and everyone’s definition is different. So replace “beautiful” with something “you find beautiful” and we’re all covered! I don’t know about you but I have hundreds of pictures in my phone of all manner of foolishness, but not nearly enough are of beautiful things. So the next time you get the feeling or see something that takes your breath away, or just go out of your way to find something like this weekly, then snap away. Then ask yourself (and answer) what makes it so beautiful.
Stay tuned for PART 2 next week…