How else do you manage your time?

One of my pre-retirement exercises involved trying to envision a routine that would help me meet my dreams – or at least some ambitious goals. It meant considering how many hours a day and week I would devote to each segment of my life – what percentage of my time I’d devote to Quaker, to literary pursuits, to being outdoors, and so on.

This is what I came up with, though I have to confess it’s far from where I wound up.

  • Meditation, hatha, scripture reading: 1½ hours a day (except for Sunday, when it becomes Quaker Meeting).
  • Writing/revision/submissions: 3 hours a day.
  • Outdoors &/or household care (including gardening): 3 hours a day. (Note: These two might float, so that a trip to the mountains is balanced by a longer day keyboarding).
  • Reading & personal correspondence: 2 hours a day.
  • Cooking, cleanup, errands, dining: 3 hours a day.
  • Personal hygiene: ½ hour a day.
  • Social (dancing, concerts, plays, film, community affairs): 3 hours a day.


Putting it together on a daily clock led to this:

  • 5 a.m. rise, meditate, exercise (hatha or short walk), read Bible (break for coffee/light food – yogurt, fruit, toast).
  • 6:30 a.m. write & revise.
  • 9:30 a.m. outdoors &/or household care (bicycle ride, walk).
  • 12:30 p.m. lunch.
  • 1:00 p.m. nap.
  • 2 p.m. personal hygiene.
  • 2:30 p.m. reading/correspondence (including submissions?).
  • 4:30 p.m. errands, cooking, cleanup.
  • 7:30 p.m. social.
  • 10:30 p.m. sleep.


It was awfully regimented, even for someone used to “living on the clock,” as I had in the newsroom. Worse, it still didn’t fit everything in. I wondered about something more flexible, perhaps alternating a month of intense writing/revision with a month of other activity. Did I need to specify reading or rereading one novel and one other book each week? That sort of thing.


Arraying them over a full week led to this:

SUNDAY: Quaker, with visitation to other Meetings once a month. Family and friends in afternoon or visits to museums and galleries. Possibly an evening movie.

MONDAY: My normal disciplined schedule (see above).

TUESDAY: Normal disciplined schedule. Take the trash out.

WEDNESDAY: Option for travel, mountaineering, hiking, swimming, etc. (may actually float in the week, depending).

THURSDAY: Normal disciplined schedule.

FRIDAY: Normal disciplined schedule.

SATURDAY: A real weekend break, for a change. “Simmering” abed. Brunch. Opera broadcast. Weekend trips. A “date” night. Dance/concert/theater/party.


Let me repeat, that’s nothing like what actually emerged. If anything, I wound up spending too much time “up in my lair” at the keyboard, at least before moving to our new old house.

The new exercise, when I remember to apply it, has me waking up with a question: What do I WANT to do today?

Deciding I want to do certain chores or tasks, knowing how I’ll feel when they’re accomplished, is a much better approach, than performing them with a sense of duty or obligation.

Or I can decide I want to do something else more … and can put them off because I want to.

How do you decide to best spend your time? And suggestions for the rest of us? 


5 thoughts on “How else do you manage your time?

      1. That’s great, I guess every wife or a mother has some domestic strategies! I personally don’t enjoy much housework, may be I’m lazy 😑

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