Exploring the Essence of Being Creative
New Years Eve is one of my most favorite times of the year. I especially relish the convergence of the past, present, and future. On New Year’s eve, I feel a sense of accomplishment (and relief) that I survived the year’s ups and downs. I enjoy the present moment festivities shared with family, friends, and champagne. And as always, I am recharged with the anticipation of a whole brand new year, waiting to unfold ahead of me.
Starting in high school, I would start each year in much of the same way by setting some ridiculous litany of goals to accomplish over the next 365 days. However, each year I would lose steam on the majority of my goals or become distracted by new ones that I randomly picked up (squirrel!). Although I always enjoyed the experience associated with each half completed project, I would have very little to show in the way of concrete accomplishments. Recently, I have come to realize (with the help of my fiance) that I have a boundless appetite to start things, but I need to work on my project/hobby/initiative completion rate like Tim Tebow needs to work on completing a pass.
So with 2013 freshly upon us, I tried to determine what I could realistically achieve over the next 52 weeks. Since I am an enginerd (engineer + nerd), I decided to do a time balance for 2013. Below is a graphical form of my personal results.
First I listed my must-have activities and the average hours per day or week that I spend on these core activities:
The above core activities consume about 82% of my time, which leaves a little less than 5 hours a day or 35 hours a week for discretionary stuff.
Next, I tried to budget how much time I should dedicate to my two new big endeavors for 2013:
The above two items take up another 5% of my time, which leaves 13% of the time for relaxing and other fun activities. I split the remainder of my time among the top three things I want to work on this year:
When all is said and done, the remaining free time I have left over is a little less than 5 hours a week or 3% of the year. Eeeek!! I really wish that I could get my hands on one of Hermione’s Time Turner necklaces!
Now, I know better than to believe that I can realistically spend 97% time carefully planned. Let’s face it, I’ll have stretches where I am so drained from addressing the core activities (work, chores, cooking) that I will mentally/physically slack off and not make progress on any of the “fun activities”. I also know that I’m going to have some break in projects such as gardening and volunteering. But there is a certain power in having a plan, even if it you are going to deviate from it eventually. I can make conscious decisions on how I want to spend my time, understanding that there are trade offs if I chose to spend time on random endeavors or spend it on negative activities (such as worrying or being angry). It also encourages me to be more efficient in my core activities, so I can spend more time on my MBA, Wedding planning, and other 2013 initiatives. For example, I may try to be more organized with my wardrobe so I can reduce the amount of time I spend getting ready in the morning. Luckily, the consequences are not dire if I do not meet the prescriptive time budget for my fun activities such as my Etsy shop, golf game, or work out schedule and it’s important to maintain this perspective when mapping out the next 8,760 hours of your life.
I know all of us our super busy, so I encourage you do to a similar exercise to understand what lies ahead of you for 2013.
I would love to hear your time balance and comments on this exercise! Feel free to comment directly to this post. Happy time balancing.