Outdoor Diary: Using Time Management for More Outside Happiness

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Humans Outside episode 236

Time management can be used to make you more productive — or it can be used to simply make your life better. Dr. Cassie Holmes, a happiness researcher, author and professor, shared how to make that happen in a recent episode of Humans Outside. But what does that mean on a practical, day-to-day level in Amy’s life? In this episode Amy talks about the small yet important changes Cassie’s advice and research has prompted in her own life. Listen now.

Some of the good stuff:

[:45] What I’ve always focused on for time management

[1:00] A shift in how I thought about it

[1:22] My conversation with Dr. Cassie Holmes about this

[1:40] A little bit about “Happier Hour”

[2:35] Here’s how I reframed it and the resulting action

[3:10] The secret sauce is this (yet again)

[3:35] What I did about it this week

Connect with this episode:

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.

I’ve long been kind of obsessed with the idea of time management for the sake of productivity. But it wasn’t until I started trying to find ways to spend time outside every day — that at least 20 consecutive minutes I talk about so often – that I started to think about it in terms of finding ways to hammer my time into submission so I could find time to do something simply because it makes me happy.

We don’t need a ton of studies to confirm that spending time outside makes us happy, by the way. We know that intuitively. It’s convenient though, that there ARE studies that say that. And talking about that with happiness expert and UCLA professor Dr. Cassie Holmes got me thinking recently about combining my search to spend more time outside with my hunt to spend more time doing things that make me happy for no other reason than joy itself is pretty great.

Now, first of all lets talk a little bit about Cassie. Her new book, Happier Hour, is a fabulous guide book with steps, lessons and helpful exercises to not just learn how to have more time to do things that make you happy, but how to find joy in the things you have to do whether they make you happy or not.

And better yet, you can hear her talk about all of this on Humans Outside as part of Season 6. You can find a link to her episode in the show notes for this episode, or go to Humans Outside Season 6 where you’ll find her as the first episode or, if you prefer to track episodes in their big numbers, as episode 233.

One of the things Cassie has found through working with her students as a part of her wildly popular UCLA course is that doing pretty much any activity outside instead of inside increases the joy people find through it. For example, running on a treadmill vs. running outside has markedly different happiness levels.

That got me thinking about all the things I do that I enjoy more when they’re outside — or ways I could convert inside things into outside things. For example, what if instead of taking a break from work and spiraling into mindless Facebook scrolling, I took the dogs on even a 10 minute walk. I guarantee I blow at least 10 minutes if not more wandering into social media. Would taking a walk make me feel better than that does? Would getting outside have a bigger bang for the time buck?

That’s just one tiny example, but I’m betting if I pause to reframe I find more. So much of what I muddle through for building more nature time into my life comes down to intentionality, and that’s the name of the game here, too. Because reframing and doing things a little differently takes paying attention to what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. What would happen if I paused to question things? What would I do differently?

This past week this intentionality resulted in one mid-day short walk – truly just 10 minutes — and taking a half day off work for a big adventure. I had a hike planned with some people visiting from out of town, and they canceled. When that happened I immediately slid that time back into normal desk hours. But then I realized, hey, I already have this time set aside to spend the day outside. Why not go with that? And so I did.

The result was an epic almost 6 hour adventure with my husband up a major mountain peak I can see from all over town, Matanuska Peak and a very memorable afternoon. It’s crazy to think that I almost spent that sitting in front of a computer.

You can see a photo from that adventure on Humans Outside on Facebook and Instagram, and please share your outside time, too with #humansoutside365. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.

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