Freedom 40 in 40 – Part V

Today’s post is all about having fun.  Really! Today I’m talking about making sure I have a good plan around my leisure activities.  I find it sort of ironic we tend to plan a lot of our lives, but never give much thought to our leisure time.  All to often we just fall into our leisure activities rather than planning them a bit more.  In my case that ends up showing up as too many night just sitting in front of the TV watching Netflix if I’m not careful.

So in that light what do I enjoy doing?  The short answer is: too much.  You see I have this habit of trying things out or doing experiments as my wife refers to them.  I’ll read about something online and then give it go at home.  It could be turning apple juice into wine or how to make something like granola bars from scratch.  The problem with this is I end up going in too many directions and can lose focus on things and I end up with too little time on things I really enjoy doing.  The experiments are not all bad as I do figure out some thing I enjoy doing like making wine from fresh fruit, but I need to ensure I’m not doing too many of them.

In the end I need to get a bit thoughtful about my free time.  So to help me sort things out here are a list of items I enjoy doing and feel I should either keep doing or do more of:

  • Reading books
  • Watching the occasional movie or TV show
  • Writing (which I covered in detail in Part IV)
  • Cooking
  • Playing with my kids or doing family events (like swimming, sledding, going to the park, etc)

Yet to make time for these things I really need to stop doing the following:

  • Mindlessly surfing the internet
  • Watching crappy movies or TV shows (if it sucks turn it off or better yet screen it in advance to ensure it is good)
  • Reading blogs that don’t challenge my thinking
  • Doing stuff to avoid working on what I should get done (for example, doing a bunch of crap while I procrastinate on cleaning)

So to help accomplish all of this I will do the following:

  • Watch movies or TV no more than three nights a week
  • Screen movies or TV shows to ensure they are at least an 8/10 on IMDB
  • Think about what I want to do on the internet before turning on the WiFi.
  • Ensure I have at least one novel and one non-fiction book to read at home at all times (most of this will come from the library)
  • Ensure that I always have some baking in the freezer at all times such as muffins, biscuits, squares, etc.  If I’m running low I need to make sure I do some cooking.
  • Write 90% of the time, 750 words daily
  • Do at least one family activity per month outside of the house
  • Make sure I play with my kids at least twice a week (movie night, board games, video games, Lego…what ever they want)

Ugh, that’s a fair bit of rules to recall, so I think I might play around with a scorecard to help me keep track of this until they become more habits. (Update: I did develop a scorecard in Evernote and tested it out last week…works good as a reminder, but I need to decide where to transfer the info if I want to track the results for a longer term.)  I’ll revisit this at least annually to consider what is working well and what needs to change.

So do you have things you should do less of or others you should do more of, if so, how to you keep yourself on track?

8 thoughts on “Freedom 40 in 40 – Part V”

  1. Too many directions is tough to combat! Fortunately it is a little easier as you age because you’ve already tried out a bunch of things and can now concentrate on what brings the most joy-value.

  2. Your approach to fun is not much fun. Intentionality is great, but it needs to be focused and simple to ensure traction. Maybe have a phased approach, so at any given time you have a list no longer than 3 bullets long. When you try to do everything, you do nothing well.

  3. I use a daytimer and have for 20+ years and this kind of thing all goes in there – I do a plan for the week every Sunday and a monthly plan every month… and a daily plan… yup, every morning… 😛 It’s not 100% scheduled though, there’s a component of sneaky structured procrastination methods in there.

    Thing is I don’t as much when I’m not working and maybe that’s what can be crazy making for me.

  4. I’ve got too many hobbies too. I know there’s not enough time in the day for me to be dedicated to all of them, so everything just gets done kind of half way.

    I definitely watch too much TV and spend too much time surfing the internet. But even if I cut off screen time, I’d still need to pare down my interests. Maybe when the Little Miss goes to school I could add some more back in…

  5. Good to see you have no lack of stuff to do Tim.

    There are a lot of folks out there who are completely hapless in life without their “day jobs”. Seen it on many a forum with my own eyes…”free time” is not a positive for everybody.

  6. Why not aim to adopt one of these a month? Add one positive habit every month and in a few months you will have them all.

  7. Mmm, good comments. I understand the fear of some that I would be doing too much at once or way too organized about it. I should point out what I’m trying to do isn’t that far off my usual life. So I’m attempting to nudge myself to watch less movies and TV and then back fill that time with other things.

    The organization of this is really about being accountable to myself. I can easily let things slip when starting something a bit different so I need that ability to know how I’m doing in a given week. So I decided on the checklist format in Evernote so it takes about 10 seconds to load and fill in. Then I dropped the data collection side of this as I don’t feel I would use it for much.

    Overall I figure it might take a month or two for this to become my new normal habit.

    @Jon_snow – Ha, this is the short list of things after I cut out some others. Trust me I can fill 2000 hours a year with utterly no problem.

  8. Great Post. I am completely with you. I will have to be challenged mentally and physically otherwise I feel that I am wasting my most valuable things- Young energy and Time.


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