How do you intend to carve out more time for the things that are the most important to you in 2013?
What did I decide on? Writing, cycling, people, prayer. I should also include sleep. I am not going to cut into my sleep time for any of this, because it will have a negative impact on everything.
So. Seven hours of work. (Lunchtime at the moment is either reading or wandering around town.) Eight hours of sleep. Nine hours to divide between everything else. That’s weekdays. As far as weekends are concerned, I get about five hours on a Sunday between the two sets of church, and so Saturday is the only day that’s completely free.
How to get the rest of it in? Yes, well, this is always the problem, isn’t it? And, much as I rave about cycling, and, indeed, need to keep cycling because it’s the only serious exercise I get, it does deprive me of an hour per work day (ten minutes train journey, plus ~ten minutes messing around at either end) that I was previously devoting to reading or writing.
Work time is, of course, work time. I have in the past tried doing the Angels of the Hours at work, but usually end up thinking, ‘well, I have a browser window open now, let me look at the internet’, so that doesn’t really work.
My Thursday evenings usually turn out to be the most productive: in the two hours between work and choir practice I sit in Caffe Nero, get my head down, and write. Either that or I go to Evensong at the cathedral. Both good. I will keep Thursdays going in this manner. (And I have dropped off the chorister minding list, hurrah! I know I am going for the love and the outreach this year, but really, watching fifteen small boys attempting to kill each other did nothing for my feelings for humanity in general.)
The obvious answer, to some of it at least, is to switch off the internet more. That’s the plan, then, from when work starts again. Computer goes off at 10pm. That gives time for prayer and reading and things like that. I really don’t tend to do much of use beyond 10pm; it’s usually TVtropes or obsessively re-reading comments I’ve seen before.
The writing is going to have to get squeezed in at odd moments. As it happens, this works pretty well, so long as I have a notebook handy. I think the trick here is not to dedicate a particular chunk of time to it, but to aim for the old thousand words per day.
As for people – friends, family – I think that’s what Saturdays are for. And so I shall aim to either meet up with somebody, or do something interesting with Tony, every Saturday. I’m quite good at joining in with social things at work, but terrible at planning things from scratch. Also, as this year, I want to talk to Anne on the phone a lot. (Mondays, or Wednesdays.)
I’m now looking at all of the above with deep suspicion, because I have a horrible feeling that I’m never going to be able to keep to it. I do think there is an element of truth in that, and that I do need to leave myself some wiggle room, give myself permission to fail at it. So there. This will not necessarily work all the time. It is worth working towards, though. And so I shall try to make those two big changes, and stick to them, and not beat myself up when I don’t, but not give up on trying. 10pm switch-off, and Saturdays.