During a video talk with an accomplished multi-entrepreneur in the US a few weeks ago, he asked me what my days are like.
I realized I had no schedule whatsoever. I was proud and ashamed at the same time, suddenly realizing I kind of wanted to impress this guy - just a little, to make him find talking to me worthwhile. Up until then I lived by my sprezzaturian credo that ad hoc was my way; the way.
It was a weird experience to get my recently established (and enjoyable) retirement questioned (albeit casually) by a friend's friend... and by myself too.
-Yup, that's my sheet of macro variables in the foreground
I then found myself planning my average day in detail. This is the result:
- Sleep midnight - 8 am
- Input 8-10 am (reading blogs, usually my 33 favorite peer blogs)
- Exercise, podwalking 10 am - 12 noon
- Food 12 noon - 1 pm
- Workout blog (Swedish) and planning future workout sessions: 1-2 pm
- Outdoor activities 2-4 pm (preferably outside the house, but washing and cleaning count too)
- Blogging 4-6 pm (learning about "online", as well as writing articles)
- Creativity 6-8 pm (writing on my current book or painting, composing, etc...)
- Quality family time 8-11 pm (hanging out with my girlfriend or friends, dinner, relaxing)
- Book reading in bed 11 pm - midnight
The main point with the list is to make room for around 4 hours of productive work (blog/book), 4 hours of more or less physical activity, 2-4 hours of input and learning new things - and of course 8 hours of sleep. During the four non-workout days per week, I plan to walk for a couple of hours, listening to science podcasts, which combine input/learning and physical activity.
As long as I on average hit these overall targets I am fully allowed to freestyle. And one completely bunked day (or two), in particular when travelling, is more or less encouraged.
You can actually feel more free, once you know you have a productive system in place. Then you know that you won't just happen to watch 5 epidodes in a row of your favorite TV series, unless you really, really want to. Hey, it's your life!
It took me about one month of complete leisure, to conclude that I actually needed some structure - not to imprison me in my habits but in order to have something to break out of. Since I now know I on average have time allocated for being productive, I feel much more free to leave the computer, rather than sit sround doing some half-assed combination of leisurely surfing and reading various blogs and newspapers.
Actually scheduling "outdoor activities" and "podwalks" is something I can recommend to regularly get you off the couch and away from surfing the net or watching videos.
I realize every day is a Saturday for me, but I think it can be just as important structuring the hours you do have at your disposal, not least the actual Saturdays and Sundays.