Regular readers of our Blog might recall that a couple of years ago we became totally obsessed with a book called Stuffocation. Written by James Wallman it reminded us that experiences make us happier than things (James even re-tweeted one of our Blogs on the topic so that experience made us uber-happy at the time!). So imagine our delight to discover that he’s written a new book Time and how to spend it.
The premise of his new book is that while we regularly plan out our time at work, we don’t do it for our leisure. He wants us to make every minute memorable and reminds us that we have more minutes in the day than we think – we are time rich. On average, he says, we have more leisure time than ever before – around 36 and 40 hours per week. But our phone addictions and tendency to multi task means we don’t utilise our time properly. Time is precious. Just as with money, time can be spent, saved, wasted and given away.
Based on global psychological studies from Cornell and Cambridge to Harvard and the LSE, he has distilled the research into seven nuggets of practical wisdom. Each of these pearls will help you to maximise and get more pleasure from your leisure time. Here’s a snapshot according to Red Magazine…
* Reframe your story: We are hard-wired to love stories and the stories most likely to resonate are the Hero’s Journey: you are challenged, muster resources then win the day. Think of yourself as the hero on your life’s journey because it reframes failures and setbacks as part of the process. Day-to-day get more story into your life by adding excitement. Say yes to new experiences even if it’s just walking a new route to the bus stop.
* Know you are growing: We crave feeling as if we’re becoming the person we want to be. Do more activities that help you grow and transform. Wallman offers 3 classifications: Fly & Flop – watching Netflix that brings zero transformation; Find & Seek – trying new things; Go & Become – learning new things for maximum transformation e.g. learning painting or sailing. Cook a new dish or read.
* Go offline and outside: Scrolling is the junk food of life, according to Wallman. It’s habit-forming like gambling. Research shows that we feel better when we disconnect from digital demands, so log out and go outside – it’s proven to be good for mental health, stress levels and overall health. Even if it’s raining, put a coat on and go outside.
* Get close to people: Loneliness strangles you slowly by putting your system into fight or flight, explains Wallman. It leaves you stressed and depressed. If you feel lonely it’s a sign you need something – in this case connection. It’s a signal from ourselves to ourselves that we’re missing something.
* Find your flow: You may crave a night loafing on the sofa with snacks but doing nothing doesn’t make for the best time. To really enjoy something, you have to be in the moment – to be in the flow. It needs to be super-engaging, maybe difficult, so you’re learning. If you sing, join a choir. Upcycle a chest of drawers or write a poem. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you engage with it.
* Make your life a masterpiece: We remember the snapshots of life, so plan in peak moments for your snapshots, says Wallman – those intensely emotional, extreme or awe-inspiring moments. It’s the difference between running along a beach or on a treadmill. Book shorter, snappier holidays, says Wallman. Four days can bring as much pleasure as a fortnight. But not everything has to be exciting: it’s important to feel pleasure in the ordinary moments of life too. Plan in new and unusual moments to every outing then build in time to reflect.
* What you do must matter: Many of us squirm at the word ‘status’ but it’s true that people with higher status live longer, have better health and are happier, so it’s worth your time to seek out. Wallman re-defines status as ‘significance’ – warm or big-hearted success. His kind of success is not about getting and having, it’s about getting and giving. Can you play a more active role in society, in your profession or in your community? Also be a networker: connect friends with someone you think they’ll like.
Futon Company says: Wow! James Wallman (@jameswallman) does it again, inspiring us with his accessible yet inspiring insights into how to live the best life possible. Finding your flow and doing activities you love are concepts that really speak to us, but we also think it’s really important to create a living space that speaks to you so that whenever you’re at home you feel inspired to make the most of every moment. Whether you’re writing, meditating, painting, working or napping, check out some of our life-affirming goodies, each and every one guaranteed to maximise pleasure…