I'm reading a great article on time management and the benefits of making plans. It says how valuable it is for one's happiness to make the most of one's free time, plan activities especially for one's free time, and have things to look forward to.
This article cites a book called Stumbling on Happiness (2006) by Daniel Gilbert, who claims that the most wonderful thing about being human is the ability to dream and imagine the future. Just thinking about good things to come adds to a person's joy, he says.
So writes Laura Vanderkam in a book entitled What Successful People do on the Weekend. They have plans for their personal time and carry through them. That does not necessitate planning every hour of each waking moment and then getting anxious about the schedule. We can still abandon clocks without wasting a lot of free time. Don't let time slip away figuring out what to do or just lounging around on your precious days off. We can still relax while having a list of things to do and a general time frame, like jogging in the morning, seeing a friend in the afternoon, and reading in the evening. The activities should be things you do for your personal life, even for others in the family or the community yet rewarding to yourself, and even if it is life maintenance like grocery shopping and household chores.
Another good point that Vanderkam makes, according to the Business Insider writer Carolyn Cutrone who authors the article I'm referring to (yahoo.ca Jan. 10, 2014), is taking care of errands and chores throughout the week instead of leaving it all to your day off and having to face a mountain of labor all at once. Keep things tidy as you go along and do a load of laundry, vacuum or dust in small chunks of time day by day to avoid feeling over-burdened and reluctant to dig into a pile of chores on one day.
Sure, your plan might be to rest and do nothing in particular, but you can still think of some reading or particular program or movie watching, talking to someone, and have that goal to anticipate with pleasure as the time off approaches. And, hey, plans are just plans and can change, but it is still healthy to have goals and make efforts for your personal maintenance and self-improvement, right? I don't think that the idea of these authors is to have people creating and sticking to strict demanding regimes for every waking hour. I think the intention is to help people make planning a routine so as to make their life easier and increase the joy in their life. Also, I think it means that you could get more control over your life, and feel stronger and more accomplished, which is good for one's general feeling of well-being and satisfaction with life.
Having a morning routine and a list (mental or physical) of morning tasks makes me feel productive. I like to get things out of the way in the morning.
I woke up a bit early, so got up around 6:30. I found quite a few things to do and got a lot done by 9:30: reading, inputting change of address notices, washing a machine load of laundry, hand-washing a sweater, washing my hair, doing my morning facial, having coffee and breakfast, and playing games.
I'm not saying I like to shoot out of bed and get to it. Quite the contrary! I like to ease into the day. The first thing is wash my face then put coffee on. I like to sip coffee absent-mindedly or while I fiddle around with my silly games for awhile, before I get into gear and tackle things that need to be done. Then I shore up the bed, then put away dishes or clothes left to dry, then set out the breakfast things and start to nibble at some food (usually a bit of yoghurt and fruit to start), do my little facial treatment, and set out clothes to wear for the day. Then I check my messages and review what needs to be done that day. Finally, I finish my second mug of coffee and have cereal (mueslix), then change out of my sleep wear.
I like to arrive early for work. I think about what I'll do, and what to do about lunch on the bus ride. During the afternoon, as the day work gradually gets done, I start to contemplate my late afternoon meal. It gives me pleasure to plan it and think about having it.
Had a delicious dish of codfish and greens for dinner today. Was done just right, this time, so that the greens looked a bright colour. Yesterday, I enjoyed a similar meal but I prepared it differently. The vegetables included some eggplant, and I tried browning them for a bit before setting the heat to a simmer and adding the fish and seasoning. That was good too, but the version I prepared tonight was even tastier.