One Hundred and Sixty-Eight

Ah, it could be so many things…

The number of unique combinations of swear words I can come up with while working twisted up like a pretzel inside of a cabinet.

The number of times I have to hit a nail to drive it all the way into a stud.

The number of showers I skipped in the last year that I probably really shouldn’t have.

Okay, yes, true to all of the above. But it’s also the amount of hours we have to live in any given week. There is no magic wand, no rip in the fabric of space-time, no Doc Brown in a Delorean to help us magically create more hours in the day, more time to live. 

I’m one of those people that for a long time labored under the impression that I didn’t have time right now, but I would eventually. “Eventually” being some vague time that is always about six months in the future.

I’ve been thinking about this more and more as I realize 1.) how absolutely out-of-control the details of my life have gotten in the last year, and 2.) that I’m probably never going to stop doing what I do. Similar to the way I believe that six months from now I’ll definitely have the time to take on a new hobby, or start training for that half-marathon again, or actually cook food that doesn’t come in a can, I also see to think there will be a time when all of my projects will be done, the house-of-the-moment will be complete, and I’ll have time for nothing but lolling about and getting lots of beauty rest.

As if when I have a free minute these days I’m not starting ten new projects, or when I finish a house I don’t just up and buy and new one to work on.

Does anyone else do this, or am I just absolutely insane?

Well, as I was pondering the mysteries of life and time management I made up  this little mental exercise:

Step 1: Without doing any math, take a stab in the dark and guess how many hours you spend on different tasks each week?

  • Sleep = 46 hours
  • Day job = 60 hours
  • Working on house/other projects = 20 hours
  • Writing for DIYdiva = 10 hours
  • Other writing = 5 hours
  • Cooking/eating = 14 hours
  • Errands/ trips to Lowe’s = 3 hours
  • Personal grooming = 7 hours
  • Seeing friends/socializing = 2 hours
  • Reading = 5 hours
  • Total = 172 hours

Huh. Perhaps I have a Delorean after all.

Also, there are some things noticeably absent from that list. Did you seen anything called “chores” in there?

Step 2: If you did, in fact, have a magic wand, what things would you like to do in a given week?

  • Build stuff – 30 hours
  • Write for DIYdiva – 15 hours
  • Write for other – 5 hours
  • Work on photography- 5 hours
  • Run – 5 hours
  • Yoga – 2 hours
  • Cook – 18 hours
  • Personal grooming – 10 hours
  • Organization – 3 hours
  • Chores – 4 hours
  • Sleep – 56 hours
  • Read – 5 hours
  • Errands – 3 hours
  • See friends/family – 5 hours
  • Do something just for fun – 2 hours
  • Learn something new – 2 hours
  • Total = 170 hours

Noticeably absent from this list? 60 hours of sitting at a desk, putting my college degrees to work. Which, let’s be honest, is not realistic. We can’t all get paid to do yoga all day. (Side note: I originally typed that sentence as “We can’t all get paid to do yoda all day.” And wow, that makes for a disturbing mental image.)

Which brings us to…

Step 3: Combine steps 1 & 2, but stay within the confines of reality. Which means one hundred and sixty eight hours.

And this is where I stare at a blank screen for the next 2 hours which as you can clearly see, I don’t have. For whatever reason I just can’t bring myself to admit that there are some things I’m not going to have time for. (Yoda, I’m sorry, but I just don’t think this relationship is going to work out for me. You’re just so needy.)

Actually, what I did with that 2 hours was start searching the internet for the magic tool that was going to allow me to do everything I wanted to do in a week and feel well rested, instead what I found was this article. Here’s an excerpt:

But all of these edgy solutions [are] almost never, never designed to make your life easier.  They are designed to sell products.  They are designed to push trendy web services. They are designed to make catchy, “blog candy” top ten posts.  They are designed to get you focused on something other than doing work on your goals, because “something other” is sexy and “work” is not.

Because “doing a million things” is impressive.  “Doing less” smacks of weakness.

Because “optimizing” sounds intellectual.  “Simplifying” sounds like you’re copping out.

If you’re not “too busy” these days, you must be doing something wrong – and while that’s bullshit, that’s still the way our culture sees things.

While the article is focused more on the “productivity industrial complex” and not “people who compulsively build things in their spare time… like houses”, I think it still might be applicable.

Or maybe I need to stop writing about not having enough time to write and just go to bed.

There is actually no point to this post at all, or if there was I lost it back at the part where I had to do a lot of adding. Except there might be slightly fewer posts and projects this month since I guess I have to start doing chores again [insert teenage angst-filled eyeroll here.]

Also, if anyone has a magic wand or a small wormhole I could borrow for the next couple of weeks, that would be awesome.

8 Responses

  1. “If you’re not “too busy” these days, you must be doing something wrong – and while that’s bullshit, that’s still the way our culture sees things.”

    … and so we throw ourselves with abandon into that little crazy treadmill of our lives every morning anew. Amen.

    To break that crazy cycle, I started inviting friends over into our half-finished house. Dear husband was shocked at first. “But the house isn’t done!” to which I responded, that it might never be completely done and then what?

    Time seems to be zapping by faster and faster these days (try having a kid; now that makes you realize how fast time flies!) and a magic wand would be nice but most of the time, a courageous and determined foot on the brake works wonders ;o)

  2. @Micha: I had to learn that lesson too! We have to have people over to our in-progress house, otherwise we’ll never have anyone over for years and become hermits once our friends eventually stop inviting us over to their houses. They do not care about the lack of trim on the windows, the wires sticking out of the walls (once we assure them said wires are not energized), the random tools in the living room.

    @DIYDiva: I know this is easier said than done, but is there any way you could steal 10 or even 20 hours a week back from your day job? This country’s work culture has gotten to be “work harder and longer hours for the same pay and be glad you have a job.” I think we have to fight back and reclaim our personal time. As you point out, we only have limited amounts of time, it is precious, and we shouldn’t give away any more of it that we really have to.

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I'm not interested in a mediocre life. I'm here to kick ass or die.

(formerly DIYdiva.net)