I think structure in life for most people comprises of two things; family and work. As I recently gave up my 9-5 to do some travelling, daily exploring and novel writing, that leaves me in a pretty unusual circumstance. My life is without the typical ‘structure’ that filled it before (as does fill most people's lives). I have no real consequences to not doing things on time bar my own personal resolve. It’s tough relying upon yourself to deliver on all of your goals and bring all the motivation.
Without the large amount of time dedicated to a job, life becomes squishy. It’s life without hard edges. Sushi life!
What affect does this sushi life entail?
“I’m no longer beholden to a job but I am beholden to myself.”
The reality of not having a job and its effect on structure kind of took me by surprise. I think this was also down to my 3 weeks or so of travelling after finishing, this time spent exploring allowed my habits and routines to unravel.
A life without hard edges is allowing me more time to focus on adventuring on my bike, and sorting out life stuff which would in normally be restricted to the weekend and it lets me spend more time on creative and personal pursuits. It’s a are opportunity to recharge my batteries and experience freedom.
I have the goal to do at least 4 hours of work a day either towards personal goals or creative goals. I’m glad I’ve set that expectation as my intention for my time off isn’t to bum about and waste the experience. I consider it a creative and adventurous break.
A big part of that will be my attempt at novel writing, which I intend to begin next week. That and my daily design challenge gives me some structure.
So far I find that I spend more time than 4 hours, and one problem is that I have a tendency to spread this time throughout the day interspersed with chilling out, and I’d prefer to either front or rear load my days with the majority of my work. So I guess one stumbling blog is that a squishy life can get a little samey.
Another thing I’ve found is that not having to be someplace for a set time each day means my sleep schedule has shifted backwards. I still find I have the same amount of time but my day tends to start about 2 hours later than it used to. My preference is to wake up early if possible, but that can be tough when you’re your own accountability.
A life without hard edges is also an interesting experiment in terms of structuring my days if I were ever to have a job that had flexible hours or were to work as a freelancer for example. So far I’m liking it.
I’m going to set my goal to bring my sleeping schedule 2 hours earlier by the end of next week. To me that seems like a fair goal and will make me personally happier to be waking earlier. It will also work a little better with the plan to group my work into either morning or evening chunks which is something I want to do more definitively.
To help me chunk my work, I’m going to start scheduling again. I started this week and aim to continue as it does really help you work out when you can do things and how much I can do things. This habit of scheduling had dropped off whilst travelling when it was essentially impossible to do all the things I wanted to do and know when I would have time to do them. But I was travelling so I think that’s fine to be a little rebellious.
Another tip I might try is to keep a journal of how I spend my time over a few days. I’ve mentioned briefly in previous posts that I can be a sucker for procrastinating between multiple things. So lately I suspect there are days when I slip from work into distraction and back into work, and this will go on multiple times for hours. I’m definitely putting my time in and getting jobs done but I don’t think I’m doing so super efficiently.
Perhaps my most controversial idea around shifting my sleeping pattern forwards is to take a hit financially if I’m not up by a certain time. I’m a huge fan of saving, budgeting and not wasting money. So if I don’t get up by 8 I’m going to pay a £10 donation to charity. (Probably different ones, definitely some LGBT related charities). To me it seems like a win-win. I’m not against giving to charity but if I don’t change my habits I will quickly spend far more than I would like on donations, and they would be donations bourne of ‘failure’ and not charitable intent. I’ll start this from the coming Monday.
I’m going to try and square off my squishy life by grouping my daily work into one half of the day and bringing my schedule 2 hours earlier to enjoy more of the early morning. All of this is to make choosing the bigger life easier (#ChooseTheBiggerLife).
Random thought: I was recently riding home around 10 and was struck by how peaceful the roads where. I bet there's a lot of tranquility from riding around cities at night time (especially in the hours just after midnight). I can imagine it being a super fun adventure riding through a large city at night.
That said, I’ll not be doing any midnight rides until I’m happy with my sleep schedule.