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Monday, April 21, 2014

Planning Your ‘Free’ Time

Posted by Tim Stobbs on January 9, 2013

As I mentioned last week in my post, an issue I have is what do with all my ‘free’ time after I’m no longer on the School Board?  In summary it is a nice problem to have, but never the less an important issue for a early retiree.  After all if you can’t deal with an extra 10 hours a week, how on earth do you plan to get used to an extra 40+ hours a week when you no longer have to work.

Overall I used to spend about 10 to 15 hours a week on School Board work. Yet I’ve already filled in some of that time by going up to full time work again.  Not as much as you think as I get 13 days off a year I used to use mainly for Board related work, so in fact I’m only on average working an extra 2 hours a week.  So that still leaves me with about 8 to 13 hours a week than I previously had.

So what have a spending that time on since I finished up my Board job at the end of Oct 2012?  To be honest I relaxed a lot. I was fairly burnt after working hard for three years.  I watched a large backlog of movies that I wanted to see, read a tonne of books and worked on some housing projects that I’ve put off in some cases for years.  So while being lazy was fun and enjoyable, I can’t do that forever.  Sitting on a beach for a vacation doing nothing is fun only for a day or two for me.  After that I want to do something.  I enjoy creating things too much to be completely idle for long periods of time.  I enjoy the thrill of learning new things or improving my skills.  So now my creative battery is recharged I need to organize my ‘free’ time on what I want to do.

My personal leisure projects tend to fall into several broad categories:

  1. Writing & Artistic – Primarily writing, but also some painting on occasion.
  2. Research & Experiments – Some research is for self interest and other is for writing projects or book reviews on the blog.  For example, one experiment I’m working on is can you make wine out of regular juice from the store? Technically possible, but I want to know if it will be any good with $5 of juice.
  3. House Improvement – My current project is putting in a study in the basement.
  4. Small Business – Product development and marketing.
  5. Relationships – Dinner parties, coffee visits, social events and hanging out with my family.
  6. Passive – Watching movies or reading novels.

In that regards, I didn’t plan what I was doing with my free time going into 2013.  I just sat back and enjoyed my time off.  Now I’m restless so I need a plan.  While this isn’t a final plan I do have the following down:

1) Do Something Daily – While a day of rest is good for people I tend to get into a rut if I do nothing for too long.  So the goal here is to get some tasks done on my projects daily regardless if I don’t feel like it.  Steady progress towards my goals is much better than panic rush to complete something right before a deadline (or never finishing since there is no deadline).

2) Blend Tasks List with Multiple Categories – I tend to go on little spurts for projects where I will spend a tonne of time on something for a month and then ignore it for two months.  It’s not very productive, so I’m going to blend task lists to include some fun and want to work on it projects and other less desirable ones that I need to finish.

3) Outline Longer Term Project Plans – It is a fairly simple fact, failing to plan means to plan means things don’t get finished.  So I’m going to outline project plans for larger scale projects that exceed more than two months to finish.  At the same time I’m not getting my planning so detailed that I don’t live my life.

While this isn’t a definitive plan, it is already helping to make sure I keep making progress on things.  Overall I’m already happy with the plan to do something daily.

How you organize your ‘free’ time?  What would you do if you had an extra 10 hours a week suddenly?

Comments

4 Responses to “Planning Your ‘Free’ Time”
  1. I have that ten extra hours every week and I tend to do as little as possible with it. I am classified as part-time at my work and my children are pretty well launched (although they still have some financial dependence) so I have lots of free time. I need to fill it with more actual doing and less relaxing.

    A side hustle and exercise are at the top of the get doing list.

  2. Jacq says:

    I use Agile Time Management where I list 3 outcomes I want to get done every month, 3 outcomes per week (may or may not be attached to the monthly outcomes) and 3 per day. I also use the app idonethis to check in daily with a friend that uses it as well. It insures that every day I am moving ahead and making progress, even if it’s something small.

    Oddly enough, I have never had to list work goals or outcomes to keep them front of mind but my personal goals will languish unless kept in the forefront through these kinds of methods. I also don’t have to push myself to keep up on investing stuff, so that’s probably a good thing since I’m going to have to depend on that for income.

  3. Paul N says:

    Sorry I’m a little slow I must have missed a few of your blog deliveries.
    Did I read above you are back to working a full time job ? Have I mis-read?
    13 days seems like not a lot of time off. Why not try to negotiate less pay for more days off? Particularly if you are in a position where you don’t need the money?

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