Time… is not on my side

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.

New old clock

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?


8 thoughts on “Time… is not on my side

  1. Ug, this is such a tricky thing! I totally relate to this! I’ve developed some tricks: I really make myself do the major cleaning/meal prep/cooking/laundry on the weekends so I don’t have to mess with so much in the few precious hours of my weeknights. It means eating a lot of leaftovers, but that doesn’t bother me. I also limit my TV time because as much as I love my cozy British mysteries, if you figure an episode of Midsomer murders is 1.5 hours that’s almost half the time b/w work and bed time! Turning off the TV and doing more things makes me feel like the evenings last longer. It’s counterintuitive but being more active helps make the time go more slowly. I also try to stay mindful (yoga has helped so much with that) and enjoy the thing that I am doing without focusing on how much time is left or how much time the thing is taking. Even driving my car home from work or the gym I try to enjoy a song or be grateful for my cute little car that runs well. I HATE going to bed because I have this weird thing where sleep is a waste of time, but I try to enjoy my snuggly blankets and reading for a little bit.

    Hope some of that helps!
    Sam recently posted…Phoning in the weekend 1/13/2014 editionMy Profile

    • Thank you, Sam! I am so reassured to know that it’s not just me who feels this way and is looking for little ways to try to improve. I am totally fine with leftovers, and making things on the weekends is a really great idea – it would be easy to have things going in the slow cooker while I’m doing laundry or whatever, and then we’d have a bunch of meals already made. I’ve been doing restorative yoga every Sunday, and I’m seeing a slight improvement in my ability to clear my mind while I’m there, but I’m still struggling with it all the rest of the time. Any tips or recommendations for mindfulness/yoga resources?
      anneheathen recently posted…Time… is not on my sideMy Profile

  2. Francine Joy Alllen

    Hey! I know just what you folks mean about time. If I can even think of any tricks to make my outside-of-work time seem to last longer I’ll let you know. One possible thing: when I’m at home, I sometimes mix “deskwork” (bank account, bills, etc.) with housework so that at least I have less physical fatigue from being in the same position for too long. I also like to listen to NPR news while doing housework, since it keeps my brain active. This doesn’t really make the time I have for recreation seem any longer (perhaps because I have a self-imposed sense of guilt about doing things that are pure enjoyment), but at least it makes routine work less of a drag (I have no guilt about that, at least)

  3. Sorry Anne, I just saw your question in your comments.Two books that have been useful to me as part of a daily practice are these two: http://tinyurl.com/magus8q and this one: http://tinyurl.com/lewgd39. The second one is a little God-y at times, but I still got something from it. (And the title reminds me of this: http://tinyurl.com/2y4rbo but it’s a little too big to swallow, so I wouldn’t worry about it :)). Mostly, the mindfulness strategies I’ve learned have come from yoga classes. Listening to and focusing on your breath is a great place to start. Also, this website and this post in particular are helpful to me: http://zenhabits.net/finding-focus/.

    I hope that helps!
    Sam recently posted…Phoning in the weekend (only not really)My Profile

  4. Uh, ignore that CSA tutorial? I do not know what that is. I meant this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9o701S_xFA
    Sam recently posted…Phoning in the weekend (only not really)My Profile

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