Do you try to fill every waking moment with work, hobbies, or travel? Or do you take time out of your day to simply sit still? Or idly chat with your partner, friends, or neighbors? I'm guilty of trying to constantly fill every waking moment with things to do. That's why I've begun taking a weekly digital sabbatical. I love working for myself. However, I've realized that I don't have to be plugged-in all the time to be "productive."
The more I learn and read, the more I realize the act of living simply is a creative process. And by living simply, I can actively practice leisure.
Developing a leisure ethic is not about laziness. It's about slowing down and taking the time to really think about what it means to live a good life, maintain healthy relationships, and how you can nourish creativity.
At it's core, crafting a simple, minimalist lifestyle is about creating more time for yourself, friends, family, and community. Decuttering is a great start. But I don't think you can make any serious life changes, until you actually reflect on where your life is going.
You need leisure time to reflect and to ask yourself big questions, like:
- Who am I?
- What am I going to do with the short life I've been given?
- How can I cultivate more leisure time in my life?
- And once I have extra time, what will I do with it?
Let's talk about how you can start integrating leisure time in your everyday life:
1. Slow down.
Slowing down is a radical act in the western world. We've been conditioned to be constantly on the go; to be "doing" something all the time, rather than just being. Slowing down includes doing things like working less, limiting the number of commitments you take on, and practicing mindfulness.
2. Value time over money.
Money is only paper. Juliet Schor sums up this point perfectly, "true wealth can be attained by mobilizing and transforming the economies of time, creativity, community, and consumption." Real resources like leisure time and nature can replenish our spirit.
3. Learn to "moodle."
Brenda Ueland coined the term "moodling" in her book, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit. She said, "imagination needs moodling - long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering." At it's core moodling is about cultivating your creative muse through non-action and idleness. In essence, developing a leisure ethic is about mastering the art of living.
What would you add to the list?
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2009. It's been revised and updated for you!