Making Your Own Time
priorities productivity time
Of course, I still have things to do. I have this blog to write, the new Warrior Fitness blog (prepare yourselves! More on that later), my gymnastics coaching and training, a new CrossFit gym, and a passive income project I've been working on, as well as my martial arts and exercise. There are also a few new video games that I need to play through. So I have a lot on my plate, as usual, but this time, I can do my projects on my own time instead of working them around someone else's schedule. Which means that I might not be doing things at the usual times.
Marching to the Beat of my Own Drum
Unconstrained by the usual 9-5, or someone else's 9-5, I am discovering that working during the usual times is not always the best way to get things done for me. Free to work when I feel most comfortable doing so, I've found out what my ideal work patterns and timing are, so I've started to sketch out a rough outline dividing up my day.
- I write best in the late mornings. I am about twice as productive from 9am-1pm as I am during any other hours of the day. Since writing is such an important part of what I want to do with my life, I should give this time slot special importance and dedicate it explicitly to writing.
- I am most comfortable doing high-intensity or cardiovascular exercise later in the day, either in the evening or the mid-afternoon. By this time, my body has had time to find its best groove, has sufficient stores of energy and water, and my mind is about ready to be cleared.
- No work after 3. My creativity seems to take a dive after around 3pm, so I save the remainder of the day for running errands, spending time with friends and family, cooking, or just reading and playing. Setting a time limit on when I can get productive work done also forces me to work faster and more efficiently earlier in the day.
Figuring Out What is Really Important
Once the lines have been drawn in, I now have the freedom to color them in however I see fit, according to my own sense of aesthetics. When I am free to follow my natural inclinations, I discover what my real priorities are. The things that I feel the strongest need to complete during my day are not what I might expect. Beyond simply being pastimes, I derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from doing these things, so I've consciously worked to dedicate more of my time to them.
- Write. Getting some writing done, for the blog or anything else, is practically a necessity for me to feel happy on any given day. Without the pressure to do anything else, I will naturally choose to write.
- Move. It is no surprise that I need to move my body at least once a day, in unusual and unconventional ways. My day just doesn't feel complete if I haven't been inverted, jumped on top of something, run as fast as I could, or climbed something. Now that I can get enough sleep, I have the energy to actually do all of those things at least once a day. Gymnastics and martial arts are immensely fulfilling.
- See my family and friends. So often, time spent with those we care about is given secondary importance to our professional lives. This is pretty silly because many of us only work so we have the freedom to hang out with friends or can support our families. Then we don't get to enjoy any time with them.
- Play music. Guitar is a part of my soul. I don't know why, but I have to play music.
- Design. I'm discovering in myself a previously unknown love of design and visual arts. I'd always been interested in sketching, but I've recently been toying with color, layout, and graphic design. Not anything huge, but the joy I derive from it is much greater than what I'd expected.
- Video games. With a bit of time on my hands, I've been able to get back into some old video games I loved to play. I get a huge kick out of solving the puzzles and mental challenges of gaming, and the best times of my life have always been characterized by at least a little time to play.
So far, I've been using my free time to dedicate more of my time to doing the things that I have discovered make me happy. It doesn't feel indulgent. It just feels like I'm actually treating my time as if it were valuable, filling it with things that make my life feel worthwhile rather than simply busy. I've managed to get a lot of writing done, set plans for my future, and begun moving towards my new goals. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep my priorities straight as I make some tweaks to bring in some money.
I think it is valuable to think about these things: When would you choose to do your work if you had the freedom to choose? What would you like to fill your time with? How can you take steps in that direction?