THERE’S A CERTAIN IRONY to the fact that I have a lot more free time now and am blogging less. I’ve not posted as frequently of late, even though I’ve cut back my main job to 3 days a week. So, what have I been doing?
Well, I’ve actually been keeping pretty busy and making, I think, good use of my time–writing, even! Since I’ve last posted on here, I’ve kept up with the “morning pages” habit I cemented while doing The Artist’s Way, writing around 1000 words almost every day (though not necessarily in the morning). I went to a nice little poetry workshop followed by an open mic program I performed at. I went to a class on writing and selling erotica. I researched blog promotion, got some ideas, and found some good new blogs in the process. I worked on the novella.
And I’ve done a whole lot of other, non-writing-related cool things I seemed never to have enough time for, from spending more time at the gym to reading to lolling in bed all day with a sexy boy. I’ve so enjoyed having the extra day off! It has made a bigger impact on my life than I had expected. I now have more days off than normal work days, so as soon as I’ve worked a day, the next weekend is close enough to start thinking about. Wow.
I officially spend a little less than half of my total time sleeping and working now, for the first time this millennium. That’s right, the pie chart of my life is now 52% free time. Well, that’s not really true. I have to eat. I have to use the bathroom and shower and get dressed and get to work and back. And some of that “free” time is, as planned, spent doing freelance editing work and giving massages. But, still, you get the idea.
I was so worried I would not use my new free time wisely–knowing how I can be–I rather obsessively logged all of my time for the first 2 weeks on the new schedule. I had been thinking of doing something like that since reading about it on Raptitude, a great blog with the tag line Getting better at being human written by a wise and slightly obsessive (in a good way I can relate to) young Canadian fellow named David.
Two weeks was a bit much. One week would have been plenty. But the insights I gleaned were so valuable! The best finding of the experiment was something I noticed almost right away: the simple act of logging my time made me stop and think about what to do next every time I finished doing something. Rather than just wander aimlessly through my day, I would consciously decide what to do with a purpose. That felt great!
That was a more valuable insight than knowing how much time I spend on every little thing I do…though the obsessive in me loved calculating that, too: 5 hours and 2 minutes riding my bike in a week (I only did the calculations for week #1), 56 and a half hours sleeping, 54 minutes to do 2 loads of laundry from start to finish (not counting the time I did other things while it was washing and drying).
Which brings me to multitasking, which we should all know by now is a load of crap. The only times multitasking works are when one of the tasks is completely mindless or involves waiting. So, I meditate while I wait for the pasta water to boil; write in my journal while my mud mask dries.
I try to do things while I brush my teeth, but always have to stop brushing when the other thing gets even the slightest bit complicated, like moving the clean silverware from the drying rack to the drawer. I guess toothbrushing is not quite entirely mindless for me. You’d think it would be by now, but it is not.
But all of this focus on using my time wisely doesn’t mean every minute has to be jam-packed and goal-oriented. Remembering the lesson of lazy-busyness, I actually think it would be a good exercise in mindfulness to learn to do nothing else while brushing my teeth. Check in with me on that in a few weeks, will you?