Sacha wrote a lovely post about her free time, and how she protects it. This led me to her reflections on overtime and the whole concept of “having too much time on your hands” by herself and by Cory Doctorow. (Incidentally, it’s great when people have large archives and link back to stuff you haven’t read).
Doing a lot, and having too much time on my hands have both been things that people have said about me lately. The having too much time was described as “prioritizing badly” (i.e. should you be working on things like that when your thesis is not complete) but I think it amounted to the same thing.
What does all this mean? Because I don’t feel like I have too much time – I’m forever rushing from one thing to the next, missing out on things I want to do because other things takes precedence. I don’t know about doing a lot, because when I compare what I manage to do to the list of things I want to do what I manage to do seems a very small amount.
Over the holiday, I plan to focus on achieving more and being happier in the process. So far, this means that I want to carve out my time to be productive and balance it with time doing stuff I enjoy – skiing, reading novels, hanging out with my boyfriend and my friends. I want to learn how to say, I’ve not achieved everything I wanted to today, but it’s time to stop work now. And stick to it.
My biggest challenge? Strange schedules at university. Lectures in the evening throw off my days, last semester working Saturdays threw my week out of kilter. Lack of schedule means that I can allow these things to derail me and then my days lose their “flow”. At the start of the semester, I was working from about 8-4, and taking a break to go to the gym or whatever, or spend time with friends, and then any extra time I would spend reading articles and books that were helpful, but not as difficult to read as an academic paper.
But then crises hit, and I work the evenings because I think I need to. Eventually my mornings disappear and instead of a regular schedule I’m rushing about, forcing myself to make time to exercise, and frantically trying to be productive in every moment that’s left. The flow is gone. I can’t pick out the rhythm from the frantic din.
I think, if I’m more strict about stopping at the end of the day, I’ll be more eager to start the day in the morning.
How about you? How do you manage an overly flexible schedule or challenges such as non-standard working hours?