Before I started my business, I wasn’t sure if I trusted myself with large swaths of discretionary time. Not free time – all time has a cost – but discretionary time, time that I can direct towards my own purposes. I thought I’d be able to use the time well, but I didn’t know for certain.
I’m starting to be more confident in how I use that time. Sure, I spend some of it hanging out with W- and J-, or exploring the constructed world of LEGO Batman 2… but I also use it to experiment with writing e-books or learning how to build mobile applications.
It’s incredible, picking your own goals and making steady progress towards them. I carved out a decent amount of carefully-protected discretionary time even when I was working for a large company and we made good use of our staycations, but even that doesn’t compare to being able to block off large chunks of time on your own. Vacations and weekends are social, and evenings often are as well. It’s great to have time to still your mind and follow your own questions. A room of one’s own, to learn and write and create.
There’s always the temptation to schedule things over it so that I don’t confront the blank canvas of a day. I meet people occasionally. It’s good for me to talk to people – and, more useful, to listen; not everyone writes. It’s also good to do this in moderation. It’s easy to talk about doing business and being in business and what to learn about business, but I shouldn’t stop there.
So there are days when I sit down and focus on the tasks I set myself. I’m becoming more accustomed to managing this time. I make lists — things I can do, topics I want to learn about, an endless supply of self-directed adventures. There’s always more to learn.
I’ll be consulting on-site four days a week for the next few weeks, but I’ll be playing around with other time arrangements soon. I’m setting aside all of September for discretionary time, and then returning for two days a week of consulting throughout October and November. We’ll see how that goes. I think it’ll go well. Adjusting the training wheels as I learn more about managing my time, energy, and attention!