How often is a person heard to mourn a lack of time? Surely it seems a truism that there is not enough time to do all that needs accomplishing during a day. However, think about the ‘spare’ minutes available each day. The first thought is, “WHAT spare minutes?” Oh, think about it. There are some.
The School Boy Story
Think about a short story first written in the early 1900’s. Spare Moments told the tale of accomplishments made possible through effective use of spare time. A lean, lanky, poor boy appeared, dressed like a beggar at the door of a prominent school. He asked to see the principal. Looking at his shabby clothes, the clerk sent him to the kitchen. Surely he was hungry and had no business seeing the principal of this élite school.
The boy asked again to see the principal after enjoying breakfast. The reply came that the principal was busy, wishing left alone to his work. The boy told the worker in the kitchen that he must see the school leader. Finally, to get back to her tasks at hand, the worker agreed and introduced the boy to the principal. The principal talked with the boy, and after a minute or so put aside his work. He conversed with the boy on things from volumes in the library. Obviously, this boy was well-educated. His looks said otherwise. The principal asked how the boy had achieved his education. The response came back as, “In my spare moments.” Self-study had the boy almost ready for college. He had invested-not squandered his spare moments.
The Gold-dust of Time
“Gold-dust of time” describes spare moments. Cherish them. Can they be accounted for at the end of a day? Examine the day. Make sure of accountability for these moments' use in a most positive way. Inmates in a prison responded how they used spare moments before incarceration. The responses are sad. Gang member activities are an example of how spare moments morf into problems. The writing from the early twentieth century reminded all that “wicked associates” can be gathered in spare moments. There is a need to exercise caution in the spending of this spare time. Bad habits and thoughts seek out small sessions of ‘spare time’ when one is not engaged in positive activity. The devil can hide in the small gaps of time, planning mischief of all sorts.
What are some notable examples of productive activities for the ‘spare’ moments?
- For the person with the long commute: Listen to a book, any book. In doing so, the commuter can learn a foreign language, increase their knowledge of their business, or even learn a new trade!
- For the person who walks for exercise: Listen to a book while walking.
- An elementary teacher can choose to teach basic skills in those times when students line up and wait to go from point A to point B. Those are ‘spare moments.’ Teach a first-grade class to count by fives, then by tens, all in the time spent standing in line.
- A high-school teacher can teach SAT vocabulary words, one at a time, just in the few minutes before the bell rings for the class to end. There is not time every day to do so, but here is a bet that those spare moments do happen enough over the year to increase that SAT vocabulary!
- For the person on the phone: Clean out a drawer or cabinet, or part of such, little by little with each call. Oh how many conference calls does it take to clean out a closet?
The list of how to best use spare minutes is endless. Have fun with their use. Feel virtuous about them at the end of each day. Sprinkle that gold dust!