Isn’t it remarkable how we expand into the spaces given us? You move into a bigger house or apartment, intimidated by the extra space, but before you know it, you have furniture, clothes and stuff in every corner. You get a raise and think, “wow, I’ll be saving so much money,” but before you know it, you’re going out to eat and shopping more.
This expansion phenomenon is especially true with time. You have all day to do just one task so you imagine all the other things you can get done, but before you know it, you’re just barely finishing that one thing before the time is up.
The time the day gives us never changes, but somehow when you’ve 20 things to do or just 2, you’ll get them done–either as a highly efficient machine or a lazy, procrastinating blob. At least, that’s how I am. The more time I have, the more time I take.
It’s obvious on the face of it. If you have many things to do, you’ll accomplish more than if you only had a few things to do.
But there’s more to it than that. I believe that self-motivation is like a muscle–the more you work it, the better it performs (and of course, it can atrophy if you don’t use it). Do you have that little list in the back of your mind–an ongoing tab of vaguely necessary but not pressing tasks that you should be doing? When I am busy, somehow that list actually dwindles.
Efficiency becomes addictive and my high rate of functioning means that I’m often capable of fitting even more into my day than I had planned. If I want to be a useful, successful, and generally awesome person, I had better pack my schedule because when I have all the time in the world, the temptation to put things off until tomorrow tends to win.
Since finishing my master’s degree, I have definitely been functioning at a lower efficiency rate. The country life tends to be quiet and relaxed. It was nice to give myself a break after the rigours of school and through the difficulties of the last couple of years.
Excuses, excuses. With self-reflection (and taking note of the many white spaces on my daily schedule) I have realized that there has been a definite slide into languor and a deficiency in self-motivation.
But, I’m too young (and getting too old) to be useless. With our upcoming move to Toronto to open our own business, I know that the lazy days are over and I welcome that change! I am looking forward to packing my schedule with work and other activities that I hope to take on like classes and sports, and I am especially looking forward to the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment. If we expand into the spaces given to us, I guess it’s important to put ourselves in big places!
Do you have a similar experience with time and motivation?