Thanks to Marie Kondo, so many of us are currently asking this question about our stuff.
But what about how we spend our time?
There was a moment recently when I spotted an email that got me surprisingly excited.
It wasn’t a big deal or opportunity. It was my new violin teacher following up our first lesson with a few recommendations of music scores to buy.
But there was definitely an ‘ooh!’ and maybe even a little squeal of excitement when I spotted it.
It sparked joy.
How much of what you spend your time on sparks joy for you?
Now I’m not suggesting that everything that doesn’t spark joy is worthless. (Although if you do decide to have a ruthless cull of your diary – I’d love to know!)
But it’s worth asking, if it doesn’t spark joy, what purpose is it serving?
Perhaps it’s something that supports the things that bring us joy
Laundry, tax returns and negotiating contracts certainly fall into that category for me..
Perhaps it’s something we’ve just defaulted to
Booking in a manicure, a night out with friends, or a trip to Legoland with the kids – just because it’s what we’ve told ourselves ‘rest’, ‘fun’ and ‘life outside of work’ looks like.
Like when we say yes to all the social engagements when we’d secretly love to have a date-for-one with a hot bath and a book. When we ‘treat’ ourselves to a day in front of the TV with our PJs on, but our limbs are yearning for a good stretch on a long hike.
When we splurge on a spa day when we’d be far happier getting muddy in the garden. Or when we put ourselves forward for that big shot promotion, because that’s what we’ve told ourselves ‘success’ looks like – but in reality it takes us further away from the work we really love to do.
Perhaps we’ve just tried to pack so much in, that we’ve squeezed the joy out of it
I love reading. It feeds my soul, and my work. But last year, the Goodreads challenge I set myself was too high. There came a point where I noticed I wasn’t enjoying it – or absorbing – as much, because I was simply trying to fly through books to hit my target.
Setting targets can be great for momentum – just as scheduling can be a great way to make things happen – but if our targets and our schedules have us flying from one thing to another, we can end up squeezing out the value, impact and the joy.
When you think about how you spend your time – does it spark joy? Let me know below!