Setting Time Aside for Life

Making time for the things in life that should be my priorities has always been a bit of a challenge for me. You can ask my wife if you don’t believe me. Aside from reiterating the fact that it is important to manage your time so that you can give the different areas of your life the attention they deserve, I’d also like to highlight a couple different ways to do this.

When I started college, I realized that working hard and giving a task my full effort and devotion was supremely important for success. It was evident in the results that students who were less focused and driven had achieved.

It wasn’t really until getting married that I realized just how much time I spent working, rather than doing other things. Like enjoying my life and my wife.

With that realization in the back of my mind, I started trying to do something about it, so that I can give my wife the time she deserves, spend some time playing sports and getting exercise, hanging out with friends, and fulfilling my other responsibilities in life.

Ignoring family: not an option

I have to work and I have to work overtime when it is asked of me. It goes back to giving my job my all. That doesn’t mean I can neglect my wife because I have a bad week where I’m working 16+ hours a week. I try to spend some time just talking; no TV or other distractions, just her and I talking. After we talk for a bit, I might watch a TV show with her to wind down before bed.

The point here is that I make sure to give her what time I have when I come home. There are certain aspects of life that you can’t “quick fix” or “hack” to make it work. Family is one of them. Suck it up and give them the attention you owe them. If you only have a bit of spare time due to a strenuous work commitment, that spare time should belong to the people you care about most: your family.
Don’t forget about lunch/dinner dates with the family. As a kid I can remember going with my mom to meet my dad for lunch some days in the summer. As a child, I really enjoyed seeing my dad in “work mode”, and I’m sure my mom liked to get the bit of extra time with him as well.

Find “free” time

When you think of the word free, typically you assume that it means you get something for no cost, yet when it comes to free time, the definition seems to be a bit different. It seems free time is any time you don’t have to do something. It rarely takes into account the needs of others and what they might need from you.

Try to look for free time when it won’t take away from someone else’s time with you. My wife is still in school, so I try to work or relax while she has to do her homework. She obviously can’t be spending time with me so neither one of us is losing out.
When school is out for the summer, I wake up early on Saturday mornings to work while my wife still sleeps. This may not be as practical for someone with young children, as they’re probably up at the crack of dawn anyway.

It’s a good idea to work on a schedule for when your time is. If you set a reasonable expectation for your family, it is much easier to cope with and plan around.

Bite-size your projects

Break up whatever it is that you do in your spare time into segments or goals. Decide what you are going to accomplish in that given period of time and aim for that. If you’re playing a game, pick a level to get to and stop at that. If you’re working on a development project, break the requirements down into a simple list of small features, and choose one or two of those features to implement in the block of time you have.

By doing this, you still feel like you’ve accomplished something in a limited amount of time, which goes a long way in helping you feel fulfilled with what it is that you are doing.

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1 comment

  1. 1 07.26.08
    4:49 pm

    [...] Setting Time Aside for Life [...]

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