Lifestyle Design – Part I

So after thinking about my last post for a while I determined I’ve been thrown out of whack by taking on a second job.  I enjoy the job itself, so that isn’t the problem, but rather my problem is how much time that job is sucking up from the rest of my life.  The end result is I’m stretched too thin because I haven’t been honest enough with myself to say my life has changed so I need to determine what to keep in my life and what to dump off.

So that is the problem.  I’ve got too much on my plate, so know I have to look at ways to alter my lifestyle to best use what time/money  I do have to achieve what I want most (also referred to as lifestyle design).  So let’s look at what I am doing.

In any given week I have approximately 115.5 hours less the time I spend sleeping.  Out of that time I do the following larger time items which I’ve attached several points (pro, con, possible change):

  1. Day job for 38.9 hours a week, plus 2.5 hours commuting.  Pro = good pay, lots of time off and interesting work. Con = a company work culture that is resistant to change which results in my frustration at times.  Possible change = In 2011, use flexible benefit to increase time off by 7 days/year to help offset board job time requirements but this would mean less money into my pension plan.
  2. Board job = 10 to 15 hours a week. Pro = meaningful and interesting work, decant pay for the hours.  Con = unpredictable time requirements and I’m stuck with the job until my term ends in the fall of 2012.  Possible change = skip more optional events that don’t require my attendance.
  3. Blog = 5 to10 hours a week. Pro= meaningful work and interesting discussion. Con = poor pay and leaves little time for other writing.  Possible change = Cut back on posting frequency.

In total that means just those three activities are eating up on average 60.9 hours a week or just about half (53%) of my waking time during the week.  That doesn’t include doing cooking, cleaning, playing with kids, or having anything that resembles a relationship with my wife.  So if you add in an estimate of those that cuts into another 35 to 40 hours a week, leaving me with 17.1 hours a week for any everything else I need/want to do in a week like visiting friends/family, relaxing or working on hobby projects: writing a book and home improvement.

To some people 17.1 hours to do that might be enough, but you have to recall I used to have another 10 to 15 hours in the slot that I’m missing from the board job.  I like my free time and I’m sorely missing it now that I’ve given up so much of it to a single thing.  So tomorrow’s post I’ll look at what I want to do with what time I have and what that could cost me.  Then on Friday’s post I’m going to make some decisions and start making changes.

6 thoughts on “Lifestyle Design – Part I”

  1. One thing I was wondering – does the school board job have certain times of the year when you’re not expected to do much – summer or Christmas break?

    Your estimate of how much time you spend – the 35-40 hours a week with wife and kids and chores – seems high to me. Is that how much time you spend, or how much time you want to spend? Maybe you should be outsourcing some of that cleaning?

    I think we reach a maximum capacity of work possible and it seems that unless you’re earning a ton of money on the school board work (seems to be about $30-$40/hour?) that wasn’t a great choice for a sideline job.

    It’s kind of ironic that we who want to retire early to have lots of time off and enjoy life in the future have to push ourselves by having less time off to enjoy our lives right now.

  2. Hmm, I wonder why you lump in playing with kids and having time with your wife in the same sentence as cleaning and doing chores. 😉 Is there a reason why you need to work so much? You’ll never get these years back even if you’re “free” at 45, so make the best of it!

  3. I am quite sensitive to the amount of free/personal/off time I have.

    When my husband started his new job, I immediately noticed his increased commute time.

    When I get called into meetings on my non work days, I do resent it as again, it eats away at my/our leisure time.

  4. I agree with the other comments, but at the same time I’m doing much of the same. 2 jobs and school. The second job is to get experience for school as well (horrible pay, but that’s not the point). I’d have more time without the 2nd job or school, but I hate my current job and I feel stuck. To me the extra pain is temporary and well worth it.

    One thing that has helped keep me motivated is joining a study group for school. Much of the free time is gone, but I don’t miss it quite so much. Probably should plan some date nights though to keep the marriage strong.

  5. @jacqjolie

    Yes, actually I’m on a break right now because of it. No kids in school means I don’t work, so I do get the summer off as well.

    The 35 to 40 hours is what I spend, I value time with my family so that consumes a fair bit of my early evening.

    I agree with the irony of wanting more time later, but having less right now.


    There is no requirement for me to work so much. Actually I was thinking back about it and March was a brutal month at both jobs. I’ve also realized that I’m spending a bit less time this month on board issues. I suspect the time requirement will go down as I get more up to speed on issues.

    @Middle Way,

    I totally agree with you.

    @Financial Student,

    I’m ok doing things for the short term, but I don’t want to keep this up for another 2.5 years. So hence I’m looking at my lifestyle for adjustments.


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