Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Time: Hobbies and Fringe Hours

Good time management has been a big project for me this year and something I've thought about a lot.  I am certainly no expert and don't have all the answers but it is something I am continually trying to improve.   Last week I wrote about the Podcast Multitask and one of my favorite podcast topics is time management, using time well, scheduling your days to get the most out of them.  I've listened to many, many on this over the last few weeks.  Today's post is about hobbies and finding the time for them.  I may not have this time management thing down perfectly yet, but I think carving out time for my own hobbies is something I'm doing fairly well. 

Right off the top of your head, can you think of your hobbies?  I read an article a few months back titled "What Happened to Hobbies?" and my initial reaction was, holy crap, I don’t have any hobbies!  (You should go read that article right now, I'll wait.)  Then I thought more than a second and realized I do.  Reading.  Blogging.  Sewing.  Those are my primary ones.  I also bake, craft, and dabble in home decorating and photography.  Sitting around and watching Netflix?  Yes, something we do occasionally but definitely not a legit “hobby”.  Mindless social media scrolling?  Definitely not a hobby.  Do you really want to spend your life just observing others?  I really hope the answer is no. 

Actually, I’d say, for the most part, your hobbies need to be something active or somehow producing something instead of just consuming things.  I realize reading is consuming but certainly in a more active way than vegging in front of the tv.  You should also have some hobby that isn't somehow connected to a screen.  Just netflix, social media, and playing video games aren’t going to cut it.

Last fall I wrote a post about limiting my time on social media and all of what I wrote still stands.  I mainly check social media at those times other than jumping in to post something here or there (without feed scrolling).  I am still very annoyed by people pulling out phones to check social media while in the presence of others (You have a mouth, ears, and a brain.  You are capable of conversation with other humans in person.  (this is not particularly aimed at any of my dear readers, you just happen to be my audience.)).  I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything by only checking each of my social channels once a day, even less if we are away from home.  It's very freeing.  If I have a few free moments I'm going to try to do something more productive than just scrolling my feeds.

And speaking of just having a few free moments, a few weeks ago I read a book The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You which was an excellent reminder of how good it is to have things just for you, hobbies, and how to make time for those.  It's mostly aimed at mothers, particularly those with smaller children (i.e. I was exactly the target audience) but would probably be good for anyone who feels they can't fit in the time for the things they really want to do.  You might only get 5 minutes here or there but the point is to make the best use of those 5 minutes, and just scrolling through Instagram for the 10th time that day probably isn't it. 

I realized while reading it that I am doing pretty well with keeping up with my hobbies.  Being a mostly stay at home Mom helps.  It's not always sunshine and roses but one of the many benefits is that I have more control over my schedule than if I worked (more) outside the home.  I have dedicated times in the week, generally while Luke is sleeping or doing quiet time, for each of my primary hobbies (I guess I don't sew every week but it's a rare week that I don't sew or craft something.).  I have a post coming later this month about how we schedule our days to fit in hobby time for us, on top of all the parenting, housework, and things that need done.  Super short version: it mostly just takes some planning and being intentional about how we spend our time.   

What about exercise?  I run a few times a week and workout most mornings.  I spend more time doing that than almost any other singular activity besides spending time with Matt and/or Luke, reading, and sleeping.  But I think that’s too important to just be considered a hobby.  Yes, I do enjoy it (to some extent, some days) but it’s also too important for my health NOT to do it.  Of course, find something you like to do; if you dread working out it’s less likely to happen, but I don’t think most people should consider working out and being active a hobby.  It should be a life necessity.  It helps me stay in shape and also mentally stable.  Amazing how a good run can clear my head on top of burning some calories!

Figure out what your hobbies are.  Make time for them, even if it's just in 5 minute increments.  You'll feel better than if you spent that time on social media and hopefully, eventually, will have something to show for it.  Whether it's something you made or a book you finished.  What are you hobbies?  I want to know!!


I mentioned at the start that I had been listening to many podcasts about time management.  Two I'd recommend:
The Running Lifestyle Show episode 129:  An conversation with Laura Vanderkam who is my favorite author (and now podcast guest) on time management.  I've mentioned her books on here more than once.  You don't have to be a runner to appreciate all that they talk about.  The episode is just over an hour but you only need to listen to the first 40 minutes.  Then they move into real running talk; I didn't even listen to that part and I do run.
Beyond the To Do List episode 041: This one is short, only 26 minutes, and again with Laura Vanderkam.  It's about making good use of your time, obviously.  It's worth 26 minutes of yours.

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