How much time do you get to yourself?
Depends what counts as free time:
- Not working
- Not getting ready for work or commuting
- Not studying
- Not looking after children
- Not looking after elders
- Not making or keeping medical appointments
- Not doing cooking and cleaning
After that, I am not sure what counts, because we are getting into choices here:
- Walking and playing with the dog
- Maintaining or repairing a house, yard/garden and car
Once you agree to these responsibilities, they become unskippable obligations! Or at least take significant effort to change.
Then there are things you sign up for that require a commitment:
- Gym membership
- Running a marathon
- Book club
- Theatre subscription
- Planning a wedding or a family reunion
You can stop – but it may not be easy – or cheap – or popular!
I had a look at how much free time I had on a typical weekday. The answer is 3 hours and 45 minutes. I think that is a LOT compared to people who are looking after young children, making daily hospital visits, or sitting in traffic day and night.
Here’s what my so-called typical day is like:
- Home workout – 1 hour (Since I schedule this, I consider it not “free” time. But really it is.)
- Getting ready for work – 45 minutes
- Blog reading and personal email – 1 hour (free time)
- Walking to and from work – 1 hour
- Work – 7 hours
- Eating meals – 1.5 hours
- Cooking – 1 .5 hours
- Cleaning – 30 minutes (usually dishes and tidying only until the weekend)
- Blog reading and personal email – 1 more hour (free time)
- Completely free time – 1 hour 45 minutes
- Sleep – 7 hours
So how do I use my non-blogging free time? It is “left over” after a full day of work and home responsibilities. Sometimes Rom and I have a long (somewhat one-sided) conversation about Magic the Gathering and guitars; sometimes we watch a concert on Qello (the Netflix for music people); sometimes I read a book for an hour or two straight; sometimes I pick up my nephew from his Tae Kwon Do class; maybe I need to shop for a birthday gift. But I never do anything outright productive, like knit a scarf or declutter a closet! At best, maybe I’ll research an upcoming vacation. At worst, I’ll write a blog post and go to bed two hours late (it happens!)
There are many, many non-typical days. I work one evening a week – and have the morning off for appointments and errands. I have a work or volunteer meeting one evening a week, too (variable, of course). Ah, public service! My schedule has some flexibility so it doesn’t feel like an unending grind.
Interestingly, Rom gets the house to himself when I work evenings and do volunteering, while I am never home alone, even at my advanced age. Funny! But he would say he is not a “joiner” and doesn’t sign up for stuff (except for online courses).
What all of this means is, I cram all my projects into weekends: volunteering, garden and yard work, cleaning, booking appointments and trips, visiting relatives, grocery shopping and bill paying. I basically don’t relax at all on the weekends. But because of my 3.75 hours a day of blogging, reading, and relaxing, I don’t miss weekends too much. Things like visiting and gardening don’t always feel like work 🙂 There is always time for a concert or a meal out when we feel like it. Sleep is optional…