I am struggling with time lately. It wants to move so quickly that I feel like I hardly have any of it to do the things I want to do. This isn’t particularly new – I have so many hobbies and interests that it has pretty much always been difficult to make enough time to do the things I’m passionate about and that make me happy. Not that I derive no pleasure at all from the things I have to do (work, laundry, etc.), but I could easily live without those things and be perfectly content.
And I don’t feel that narrowing/focusing my interests would help – I love all the things I do and I don’t want to eliminate any of them from my life. I am pretty good at prioritizing and being productive (both at work and on my own time), so I feel like I’m doing the best I can with the time I have – it just isn’t enough.
I also get (perhaps irrationally) irritated when those obligations, work especially, invade my personal time (prime example: bad-dreaming/not sleeping in the night because my brain is trying to solve some work problem or is being disturbed by some work issue or coworker’s actions). It’s like my obligations are stealing even more from me than they already normally do! Outrageous! (I do realize that this probably happens to most people, and that I am lucky to have a job that uses my education and pays relatively well. I just can’t quite let go of the irritation about it, and when it disturbs my sleep, I get really annoyed. Getting enough sleep is really, really important to me. And, to be honest, to those around me, since I am ZERO fun to be around when I haven’t had enough.)
I am trying my best to handle it, though. For a long time, my attitude was (and still sometimes is) that I hardly have any time left in the evenings after work to pursue my interests and spend time with the people I care about. I made a conscious choice late last year to try to retrain my brain to see it differently: I repeat to myself, when I am on the way home from work: I have a whole three to four hours to enjoy before I have to go to bed. I try to trick myself into thinking that three to four hours is a long time, when my gut reaction is that it is nowhere near enough to balance out the stresses of the day and get done all the other obligation things a grown-up has to do outside working hours (getting through personal email alone seems like a huge chore these days – I realize now that I have been lucky in the past to be able to get a lot of that done during breaks at work, but in my current position access to all things Google is blocked, so I can’t even look at personal stuff during work hours, meaning I get nothing accomplished at all during work breaks if I even bother to take them). As you can probably tell, this brain retraining works on occasion but not all the time. Two-day weekends also seem nowhere near long enough to do all the things I have to and would like to do.
K and I daydream a lot about becoming instantly miraculously independently wealthy, so we could maintain our current lifestyle (no yachts or mansions or other lavish extravagances desired) and be able to just pursue our passions the majority of our waking hours. As these passions involve creating things and collaborating with others to create things, I can justify this as not too ridiculously selfish, though I recognize that to many people it probably is. That doesn’t diminish my desire for it, though! Who wants to think that they spent most of their life doing things that they had to in order to eke out a few hours here and there to do the things they wanted to, and never really got to make the time to pursue the things they were passionate about?
I’ve given a lot of thought to how to make the things I want to do into a vocation, so I could earn a living while doing those passion projects. It just doesn’t seem feasible, though. Handmade knits and sewn items just take too much time to be profitable if you need to make more than minimum wage and have health insurance and everything (unless you are catering to an audience with a LOT more spending money than just about anyone I know, and I have mixed feelings about making things solely for people with whom I can hardly identify). I’ve also dreamed about opening up a yarn shop. I think it would be a great addition to downtown Mount P, there isn’t an LYS in the area and I know a lot of knitters live here, and I feel like it would be a viable business opportunity. I would certainly not be spending all my days making things by hand, but I’d get to spend some time doing it as well as teaching others how, and I think that being part of a vital downtown and community would be very rewarding for me. The downside is that I have never run a business myself and while I’m great with managing budgets, personnel, and inventory and such in the library world, I don’t have the behind-the-scenes business know-how that I think would be needed. Perhaps I could find a partner who would bring the skills I lack. There would also be the small matter of needing the capital to get such a business started. Maybe I should do a kickstarter to generate the funds?
How do you manage your time? Do you have any tricks you use to make your outside-of-work time last longer?