I have been asked a couple of times in recent days “How do you have time for all that stuff you put on Facebook?”. I’ve been slightly startled by the question because I didn’t actually think that I did do that much really.
I think it came about in a short period where I posted (read ‘bragged’) about completing a marathon, going kayaking, BMF, joining ‘project awesome’, baking a cake plus some family time too. This got me thinking about my use of time, especially as I hold down a full time job and have young children.
First let’s go back in time to my 20s when I had, almost literally, ALL the time in the world. I did sometimes go scuba diving and I had a few nice holidays but I mostly did nothing that the older me would recognise as anything cool or worthwhile. Like many twenty somethings, a lot of lounging about watching telly, and not even ‘quality telly’ either. With as much time as I wanted and my whole life still ahead I, of course, did very little.
Now that I only have a few small windows of opportunity to do anything, I actually do a fair bit. How I do this mainly comes down to the idea of focusing on the things that I think are important and making them happen. When someone says that they have ‘no time’, it means that they are choosing to do something else. Could be television, socialising in the pub or extra sleep, but if those things are getting in the way of what you really want – cut them out.
I have a few things in my favour:
- My job is fairly 9-5 and I more or less stick to my hours
- I have a very supportive partner who encourages me
- I don’t mind waking up early and can get out of bed when the alarm goes
- I have relatively few other family commitments
So how do I do it?
- I don’t do any DIY. Spare time is not frittered on shelf-building or wall papering etc.
- I Block out time in the diary (preferably well in advance) and say ‘no’ to other stuff
- I get up early. Seriously, if you can stand this, you can do a LOT before work (plus sunrises are ace!)
- Kids at a party? Relatives taking them out? Time for a bike ride etc.
When i’m in my dotage and talking with the other folk in the care home, i’m keen not to confess that I watched every episode of Eastenders or that I had a lot of lay-ins as the main things I did with my life. I may have left it to my 40s but i’m finally seizing the day and getting on with the cool things.
The next trick, and one I’ve not solved yet, is how to fit in an expedition into a family holiday. The kids are now 5 and 7 which means that we can do some cool stuff (see my first microadventure) but big stuff is going to be a challenge.
I have a possible thought of cycling from Land’s end to home, approximately 350 miles. If I only did 50 miles a day, something I could do in 4-5 hours, that would leave afternoon’s for the family. Sounds slightly hair-brained but might work?
Feel free to suggest other ideas!