This ‘late in the day’ post couldn’t have been more perfect the purposes of the post itself, which is about the struggle to balance your passions with daily life.
Why am I posting late? Because I just finished a 60 hour work week and slept through my alarm because I was exhausted. And although today was my day off, I was back at work chairing a committee I feel passionate about, so I’m just getting my butt in my computer chair. Also, I made a promise to myself to post on Mondays, so this is my way of keeping with it.
In order to retain sanity, we humans need creative outlets devoted to non-work activities we feel passionate about. I write. For others it could be video games, binge-watching your favorite shows, taking the kids to the park, painting, or building robots you hope to one day use to take over the world. No matter it is, you need to actively pursue these outlets so you don’t feel like your life consists of working to pay bills. Even if you’re passionate about your job, there still needs to be something outside of it that speaks to another part of your soul, to decompress, and gain a sense of wholeness.
Here are some tips that help me devote my free time to my passion.
1. Plan ahead – You know what your work week looks like and what hours you realistically have as free time. If you plan ahead, you can look
forward to the activity you’d like to do and that drive will ensure you put aside time to make it happen. I had to go as far as buying an agenda just to wrap my brain around it. That might not be necessary for your needs, but if it is, get out there and purchase one. Mine’s cute as hell and I’ll use just about any excuse to use it. Our lives are busy. If you wait for the “perfect time” to dive into that project you always wanted to do, the universe will sit back and belly laugh while throwing another obstacle in your way. There’s never a perfect time. You must create with that mindset. If you feel guilty, get some chores done first 🙂
2. Communicate the importance to those you love – Don’t assume the people around you understand how important your passion and free time is to you. Even if you’re shy about making it known, build some personal boundaries you promise to yourself cannot be broken, unless in an emergency. Clearly if your child breaks their arm, you won’t make them wait to finish the last chapter of the book your reading before driving them to the hospital. But if your kid(s) are at the age of understanding, they should be included in those conversations. I know single mothers who do it. It is possible, but you need to make it known. This could also mean to communicate it to the ones that will get in your way. I’m all for helping people, but you have your needs as well, so consider they may be zapping precious energy. Tell them when you’re available to talk and expect respect.
3. Sacrifice sleep – To a healthy extent, of course, this is necessary. I love sleep. Me and sleep have been besties since the womb and when I’m without 10 hours of it, I feel the loss. However, if you were going to spend an hour tossing and turning in bed anyway, use that hour for your passion. Even if it’s only to plan what you need to do the next time you get a larger block of free time to get more done. Then when that time comes, you’ll be ready to get into the thick of it instead of wasting time. Get up early on your days off. Sacrifice your afternoon nap. Sometimes it’s necessary, and while you might be a bit tired, think of how exhausted with life you’d be without tapping into that outlet. I found the trade-off worth it.
4. Find the right space – If your passion is something active where you’re on a team or are out of the house, this won’t apply, but if it’s in-house, you need to create a space that allows you to concentrate on your goal. An office, a back room studio, the bedroom when no one else is in there. Sometimes this means doing things with others around you, but you have things that help you get into the zone. Headphones for music, anything to drown out distraction. Distractions are your worst enemy and steal momentum. The right space will foster creativity and become a priceless ally.
5. Give social media the finger – Blasphemous! I know, but just for a bit. I’m amongst those perpetually online whether on my phone or my computer, but this creates a sense of ADD and your productivity goes out the window. Do whatever it is you do for an hour and then check into your Facebook, or whatever other platform that grabs your attention, for no longer than 10 minutes. You need to enforce this boundary on yourself. The easier social media is to access, the easier it is to wander into the realm of posts and comments and cat videos, and next thing you know, an hour is wasted and you lost precious time you won’t get back. This is my #1 time stealer. If you need to unplug the internet or turn of your phone, do it!
Since my passion is something I’ve turned into a career, I take it seriously. If that’s not in your horizon, it doesn’t make it less important. Remember, your days are limited, your regrets are not. Find the time now and stretch it to your needs.
Now, I’m going to take my own advice and get to it. If you find these helpful, think I’m an idiot, or have other ideas to best utilize free time, send them my way. I’m an excellent listener and am always looking for best practices.