Time – how I want to use it

images.jpgTime is an interesting concept. It can move very slowly or fly by. Days can feel like years or they can happen and you are not sure where they went – gone in a blink of an eye. This year I have thought a lot about time. Not only how slow or quick it can go by but more importantly how do I use my time.

I am not a spring chicken nor am I an aged old lady. But my seventies are a couple years away and I am aware that I do not have decades ahead of me. Maybe it is due to the turn of this decade as we slip into the “roaring” twenties, as my cousin said, it has me thinking about the use of time. The use of my time.

It is a big topic and an exciting one. It forces me to look closely at the things I am doing. I need to make choices about what I want to continue to do. What do I want to spend my days doing? Do I have things I really want to learn or do before I find it more difficult to accomplish these things? I know that in another 10 to 15 years I might not be as active as I am now. This thought changes how I look at my days.

So I begin as I always do with a list.

  • What are the things I am doing right now?  (These are the big events not the laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.  These things need to keep going so I do not include them here.)
  • Then I think about if there are things I am not doing but want to do.


Then I am on to the process of deciding can I do all of this?  If the answer is no then some things need to go.  I also think about the impact of others when or if I say no to at activity that involves those around me. The cost of these activities also comes into play.  Do I want to spend money doing this item? Is it the best use of my income at this time? The little questions that come into play in this process are amazing to me. I also know that this list may look very different a year from now. This is not a long range plan that I must stick to. It is a guide to help me make choices over the next months or a year.

A few examples are:

List of activities I do

  • caring for my grandson
  • working at the school part time
  • developing skills around botanical drawing and painting
  • gardening

List of activities I what to do

  • redesigning and redo the basement/laundry area in the house
  • travel more
  • spend time in the woods
  • develop a nature journal

From these lists I found that I did not list my work with children’s books. This helped me realize the things I left off the list also told me something about where I am going and what is important to me now.  As I thought about this I had to admit I was reading more non fiction and adult books – moving away from my work with and around young children. The books I want to read have to do with nature, forests, environmental issues and the how to do botanical illustration.  (not to say I will stop reading young literature it just is not a big focus any more)

As I began to create my list of what I want to do it help me determine that taking the color class for botanical watercolor illustration from the Minnesota Botanical Schoolimages-1.jpg of Art was important to me. I want to use that skill in creating a Nature Journal. The work around the Nature Journal is a connection to my grandson and what I would love to share with him as he gets older. It connects to my thinking and concern around the environment. I am beginning to see a change in my focus and how I want to respond to that change. Lists can be amazing.

The support of my Grandson will continue because – geez – how could I give up that opportunity plus the stress on his family would be super hard right now. This works for them and makes life fun for us.

These two items – grandson and botanical drawing led me to thinking it was a good idea to see if we can really afford to redo the basement. The space has not been upgraded since we moved in over 30 years ago – think a 1950’s basement, white wood panels, an old and stained carpet and a laundry room that is small and crowded with a cement floor. This area of the house could be used in much better ways and will be important for our grandson, my husband and I as we spend more time in and around the house.

As I write out this example I realize the item I have not mentioned is working at the school. The little bit of extra cash is nice and I always love talking to teachers and seeing kids but it takes time. More time than I realize and now more time than I really want to spend. Leaving home to go test a few kids is not a high priority for me any more. It has been a great job for the last 6 years but it feels like it is time to let this one go.  I will finish out the school year since I do not want to leave a school and kids without this support.  (Although it has been less support this year.)

As this month comes to a close I will work through my lists, reflect and set a new direction for 2020. I have a feeling this will also help me set my One Little Word for next year.

How do you organize your time?  Are you doing the things that are important to you?

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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