Making Good Use of Your Evenings – TPW240
Published May 1, 2019
40 min
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    When evening (or other "off work" time) comes, do you use it well or let it fritter away?

    What do you do with your evening time?

    This week's topic was inspired by a conversation in a recent mastermind meeting about using our evenings well. We talked about the feeling of coming home from work, having no plan for the evening and frittering it away, accomplishing nothing of value, and going to bed thinking, "Well, that evening's lost."

    Wasted time

    What does it mean to waste time? How do you define whether your time was wasted or used well?

    I looked up the definition of waste online and it said, “causing someone to spend time doing something that is unnecessary or does not produce any benefit.”

    Laura Vanderkam, author of Off the Clock and our guest on TPW217, offered this definition in an article a few years ago:

    “Time is wasted when it’s neither enjoyed, nor spent in pursuit of some larger life goal.”

    “How to Figure Out What Is Really a Waste of Time (Laura Vanderkam)”

    How do we decide if time is wasted? That's never somebody else's call. It's not determined by what you did or didn't do. The question is whether you are satisfied with the results you're getting.

    No one should spend every minute working.

    In the United States, where I'm based, most workers don't use up the vacation time they're entitled to. Americans tend to work too much. When we're talking about the best way to make use of our evenings (or any other non-work time), it's important to keep in mind that working all the time is not healthy, helpful, or productive

    “Humans are only wired to be focused on a specific task for an hour or two at a stretch before the mind gets fatigued and can't absorb new information, so mental rest is crucial. There are different types of brain waves: beta waves are present when the mind is alert and focused on a task and alpha waves when the mind is relaxed, free to wander or daydream. In that important alpha state the brain is processing all the info it's recently taken in, learning from it, storing away memories to make room for more information, and making new connections that spark creative ideas.”

    “Is Watching TV Actually a Good Way to Rest Your Brain” 

    There’s nothing wrong with the occasional evening spent on the couch with popcorn and Netflix

    “Watching TV and surfing the web are often low-value activities, but they’re not automatically wasted time. These things sometimes bring pleasure, and pleasure is a good in its own right.”

    “How to Figure Out What Is Really a Waste of Time (Laura Vanderkam)”

    But the effect of these kinds of activities is the subject of studie...
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