As many of you already know, I was made an orphan 3 months ago.
No, no my parents didn’t die or anything like that. Despite my Dad having a red-hot go at it for a while there, he tore himself away from the brink to jet off to Europe for a 3 month holiday with my mother, leaving my siblings and I to fend for ourselves for the longest consecutive period ever, and leaving me to run the family business.
Consequently, I’ve become rather busy… to the point where I’ve started to question whether this Top 30 List was really such a great idea…
In the past few weeks I’ve barely had time to scratch myself and all of my best laid plans seem to have gone awry. For example:
- I went to my book writing course and haven’t written a single word.
- I’ve gone 5 days without blogging.
- No movies have moved me, and
- I’m too rundown to run!
A couple of nights ago some friends of ours came around for dinner (Hello to the Brownes!) At one point, the conversation turned to hectic weekday schedules and how common it is to be too busy to get anything done – especially when you work late hours or commute.
I am probably the poster child for free time in many ways. My workplace is also my bludgeplace because I work from home. My “daily commute” involves commando-rolling from my warm bed across the hallway and into the next room (if Andy’s lucky I might even bother to bathe and dress myself in between, although that is an “optional extra” usually reserved for special occasions).
Apart from work I don’t have a lot of commitments. I mean, I don’t have children or the infirm to look after. I don’t head up any important boards and I haven’t volunteered to coach the local netball team. In fact, it was this complete lack of activity that prompted me to start the list of ‘Top 30 things to try before I’m 30’… after all, I had little better to do!
As a result I now have a commitment to run three times a week, write on a regular basis if not daily, sew up a storm, plan and save for a whole host of exciting adventures… not the least of which being that I now have to plan my own wedding.
Once I was on a roll with all this activity I started doing things like signing myself up for Mandarin lessons (a bucket list item of my own that doesn’t appear on the list).
Activity is addicting and I confess things may have gotten out of hand.
But, as they say, “if you want something done, ask a busy person” and I seem to be powering along ok. Sure, the running has fallen away a bit, and I’m still suffering writers’ block, but all-in-all I’m happy with my progress and excited about the upcoming planned challenges (such as volunteering at Edgar’s Mission Saturday week).
I think it’s very easy to get stuck in the day-to-day, worrying so much about work tomorrow, for example, that we forget to enjoy the free time in between (however fleeting it may be). I will readily admit to being a bit of a midweek TV zombie in the past, but even my beloved Neighbours takes a back seat more often than not these days. It is truly amazing how much you can cram into the few hours between work and sleep when you try. Sure, I don’t have to commute so that helps a lot, but even if I did, these days I’d be tempted to spend the time writing instead of playing bejewelled.
“Excellent… You are now my bitch for the next 45 minutes.”
It’s all-too-easy to get stuck in a midweek rut, praying to the almighty Gregorian calendar for the blessed release of Friday (you know, “TGIF” – “Thank Greg’ it’s Friday”). As hard as I’ve been finding it to find inspiration for my book, sometimes it’s just as hard to come up with something to do on a Monday evening other than sleep and eat. For those of you struggling to find time to do anything but work and function in between, as is my style I have some basic tips about how to tip the work/life balance in favour of “life”:
- Too tired to do anything but plonk yourself in front of the TV each night? At least give it some new material. If you’re stuck for inspiration, try the imdb Top 100 movie list. They’re not all bad, I promise.
- Too tired to cook? That’s why Jamie Oliver invented his 30 minute meals, and even though I’m not a fan of the old JO, I can see that he has a point. There are plenty of ways to spice up a midweek dinner that don’t involve much effort. Google it.
Don’t have 30 minutes to spare? Try ordering from the local Nepalese restaurant instead of Joe’s pizza. Can’t function without pizza? Why not order one of the more exotic flavours this time?
For the more adventurous, sign yourself up to a class – Not something educational, something completely pointless that you feel like doing. You don’t have to aspire to be a manicurist to take a “nail technology” course and you don’t have to have artistic skill to take up pottery. This isn’t a competition, do whatever you feel!
- Make contact with another human being that doesn’t include someone you live with. Phone an old friend or pen (“key”?) an email to someone far away. If you’re stuck in a rut then chances are they’re up to something more exciting (even if only because it’s different to you). Get their secrets to keeping things interesting!
- Change it up. Eat dinner by candlelight (even if dinner is just pizza after all), have a bath instead of a shower, move your bedroom furniture around.
If you start small like this, chances are you’ll get a taste for it, and pretty soon you’ll find that those hours fit far more into them than you originally thought! I’m certainly amazed at just how much I have managed to squeeze in and, although there are times when I feel a little overwhelmed, it’s such a nice feeling to find that I’m now too busy because of play instead of being too busy because of work.
It’s too easy to let midweek life pass us by and rely on the weekends to make up the difference. I say “make every day count”… even just a little.
What the most exciting thing you get up to on a weeknight?