How do you spend yours?
Do you count the productive hours of the day as the ones at work (£/$ for money work) or do you deal those 'productive' hours up between home, work, family and life? The old 'work/life balance question I guess. I've been pondering this a while. Recently having moved and downshifted my working hours considerably, I've been thinking of what's acceptable and productive and what's just perhaps seen as outright indulgence. Those tasks which are helpful like gardening, or reading or reflecting, but don't give you hard cold cash and quite frankly you can do without, if you're honest. For those lucky enough, like me, to be starting a new phase of life, in a new place. Are these 'pastimes' a halfway between holiday and real llife change. The corridors between old lives and new realities? Or is the real change a mindful move to reducing the 'paid' work hours and upping the 'unpaid' working day, which is often equally as productive. Providing food, comfort and support to yourself and those around you, aren't these equally as productive activities?
Or are these, the haiverings of a self indulgent wifie. Probably, but why not, I'm an epic haiver-er.
So having moved a wee while back now, I'm trying to work out how I fit into my new life. I'm still self employed and opportunities are presenting themselves regularly, so fear not, we'll not starve. But should I get a full time job and contribute significantly to my home and society? Is the graft that I do at home, in the garden and throughout my family's life maintenance productive and contributes positively to us all, it is just as valuable?
Is some part time work (however that manifests itself) and volunteering outwith my home a way to stay a firmly attached and contributing human being in my community? Or is it just a pseudo-mid life crisis type indulgence and I should get off my bottom and find a stimulating productive full time job to help solve something, hopefully significant, even on a small scale? I like work, I do, a lot. But, if I had the choice to shape my life in the way I'd like from here on in, how would it look?
I currently work around 2-3 hours a day for cold hard cash. I enjoy my work but I don't want it to take over my life. I work in the garden for a good couple hours, if not more. As we're establishing a productive (bonnie) garden, this should eventually be productive too and reduce the spends positively. I help/aid the family with chores, admin tasks and hope to make the home we have a happy, comfortable one. I write and I research, often for my own pleasure, but its productive and will eventually 'help' others to grow and produce their own food. I walk and cook every single day. Lets not pretend we're a family that eats everything from scratch but we cook every single day, for most meals, its just how we live. My days are full to bursting.
Am I productive, or a wannabe 'good life' cliche? Or do I value my own time properly and see the benefits of establishing a routine which supports those around me. I know I'm lucky in my circumstances, and value that everyday. But, is a financial contribution the most important one always?
I wonder if many folk wonder, like me, wonder how they 'contribute' equally if they don't earn enough (money) to pay a full share of the mortgage/rent/bills in their home. Is their time still as productive as 'paid' time?
After all, once times spent we can't get it back.
So I still ask myself, 'what is productive and useful'. I know we need a balance between money to sustain life and a standard of life to sustain our souls. Maslow's hierarchy of needs published in his 'A Theory of Human Motivation' in 1943. Having our most basic of 'needs' met, maybe striving for some balance isn't so unexpected. [The subtext to that last sentence is of course, at my current 'middle' age.]
As my family sit down to tea, in a comfortable homey space, I hope I'm as productive as they seem to be. I certainly feel very motivated by this life.
I'll endeavour to get more figured out tomorrow. I'm heading out to do some paid work later. I've an appointment to do some voluntary work later on next week. I guess I slowly need to adjust to my own 'new' life and make sure the choices I make suit us all. I've no issue with working full time if the right job comes along but I know it will need life to juggle a bit if I do. Which won't be so bad either. I guess its all about choice and balance.
Any thoughts? Life, work balance. How's that panning out for you?