Who Else Wants More Free Time?

Post image for Who Else Wants More Free Time?

by Howard Decker @HowardTheDeck on January 24, 2013

in Funny

Everyone would love some extra free time.

 

How many items on your to-do list are forsaken because “there just aren’t enough hours in the day”? Frequently, we tell ourselves that the things we don’t get to do must not be that important, or we’d find a way to get them done. But what if they are that important? What if there were ways to create some more free time in your life? How far would you go to generate a few extra minutes of “you time”?

time clock

UnderScoopFire editor Howie Decker and USF Podcast producer Corey Chapman recently had an in-depth discussion about the current amount of free time each of them enjoy, as well as some of their own personal free time “cheat codes”.

If you’re married, have children, or both- check it out. You might pick up a new trick or two. We by no means wrote the book on creating free time, but we’ve undoubtedly tried everything imaginable.

If after self-reflection you feel that you already enjoy a bountiful amount of free time in your life, please share your expertise and experience in the comments. We’re always looking to improve our quality of life.

 

Howie: I don’t want to interrupt your daily car nap {referring to Corey’s practice of sleeping in his office parking lot during his lunch hour}, but let’s discuss free time (if you have some free time).

Corey: You are not interrupting my car nap, sir. In case you have forgotten, it’s February and we live in Upstate New York. So unless it’s an unseasonably warm day, say 50 degrees or higher, there is no car nap for me.

Somehow I DO have some free time right now. But won’t I lose that free time by chatting with you?

sleeping in car

not Corey

H: You will, but you’re at work so you’re trapped. Out of every 24 hours, how much true free time would you say you have?

C: The first thing that needs to be established is how we define free time. As a father of three young children, my gut reaction is “How much time per day am I completely alone with nothing to do?” If that is the case, zero hours, zero minutes. If its considered “quiet time” when the kids go to bed and I can spend time with my wife OR do something else, I would guess 2-3 hours per day.

H: Yeah, I think we do need to establish a working definition of ‘free time’. I don’t think it necessarily means “quiet time with nothing to do”. How’s this: any period of time in which there are no external and pressing demands of your attention or effort.

If that’s what we’re going with, I’d say I’m in the 2 hour per day range as well, and that includes weekend days. That might mean I have one hour to myself after everyone goes to bed, coupled with 20 separate 3 minute moments where I might do something like stay in the bathroom longer than I need to just to check Twitter.

twooping

Finally! Tweeting while pooping has a name!

C: That stay in the bathroom trick doesn’t work in my house anymore. My kids are smarter than me. If I am in there more than a couple of minutes, they are ready to get the power tools and unhinge the door. I find that extra Twitter/Facebook time going places/doing chores no one wants to be around for- doing laundry, mowing the lawn, shoveling the driveway. No one wants to bother me when I am doing those tasks! So weirdly, I sometimes consider those moments “free” time. I am getting tasks done, but have the time to myself.

mowing lawn

also not Corey

There is no doubt that if I could get my ass out of bed consistently to run in the morning, I would have more free time. Traditionally, I get all the family responsibilities done before my children go to bed, then once they are off to sleep, I hit the road for my miles. Sometimes I am gone for an hour, sometimes two. My wife doesn’t seem to mind, seeing as she gets control of the TV while I am gone. It doesn’t bother me much, because I was never into Glee or Grey’s Anatomy.

H: So let me ask you this- do you consider running as spending your free time? The only thing I have a passion for that I could compare to yours for running is either toy collecting, reading comics, or writing. If I’m spending time on any of those things I’d consider that free time, because the only way I could be doing them is if everything else is done and no one needs/wants me for anything.

Man Running on Beach

definitely not Howie

C: Absolutely. Although working out/running is work, its time away from my family. When I am on the road, listening to a podcast or some music, trying to stay warm, while sweating profusely, I often say to myself, “Why do this? Spend that free time on the couch!” It can be mentally draining, and I have lost that battle quite frequently the last few months. Maybe its the weather, maybe its the list of things I would rather be doing, but its a challenge nonetheless. But afterwards, when I get home, I feel like a new person. The mind is clear, the body is tired, but a good tired. And its worth it.

This schedule works well with my wife also. We have nights each week where we crank out all the shows we watch together. It makes those nights more special. I respect her need for free time, and we are good about letting the other get out on their own at least once a week.

With toy collecting, reading comics, and writing, are you able to do those things without interruption?

H: We can take toy collecting off the books for this one. I don’t really sit around and “toy collect”. I guess the only instance in which that hobby requires time is when there is a toy show in town, or if I’m feverishly trying to snipe an item on eBay. I actually enjoy getting into toys with my son, so that has kind of been a nice mixture of something I’d do during “me time” that I can enjoy with family.

motuc figures

it’s like they’re screaming “COLLECT US ALL!!”

The only time I read comics is when I’m in bed for the night, but haven’t turned the light out yet. I can’t remember the last comic I read not in bed. Sounds weird, but it’s the only good time to do it.

As for writing, that’s another “after everyone is asleep” item. I basically try to pack an entire day’s worth of activities into the 9:30-11:30PM block. It’s honestly why I had to cut back on recording podcasts. That block has always been the only time to record, and at that point there is so much to do (like reading comics, watching TV, blogging, etc). Kidding. That sounds bad. I love you guys.

So here’s the big question- assuming you want more free time (we all do), what measures have you taken/do you take to try to create some?

C: That is the $64,000 question. You could ditch all of your responsibilities, quit your job, and spend your days free. But that would get old quick, and then the bill collectors would start calling, and that’s more trouble than its worth.

64000 question game showWatched this whole ep. That wasn’t the question.

I guess it comes down to sacrifice. Maybe eliminate some of the lesser important hobbies I have to create more free time to do things I have a passion for. So consider this my resignation from UnderScoopFire! No more writing and no more podcasts! I feel free already!

I kid, I kid. I understand where you’re coming from in regards to the podcast. Some listeners have commented on the lack of shows or the length (!) of shows the past few months. I try to explain that besides trying to get 3-4 people together at the same time on the same night to record a show can be difficult and then there is editing and writing posts, etc. We pride ourselves in putting together a fun show, and that normally takes longer than an hour a week. But don’t take this as complaining! I love doing the show and can’t believe the amount of people that listen! It’s humbling!

one person audience

Truly humbling. We can’t thank all of you enough.

One of the changes I have made to create more free time is uses my “extra” time at work to get tasks done that I used to save for when I got home. I can pay bills online, confirm appointments, etc, while waiting on hold for a customer. You would think having to wait on hold for a customer for five minutes would be annoying, but not me! In that time, I have paid the gas bill and ordered the birthday cake for my daughter’s party.

daughter birthday cake

Maybe no more cake ordering online

What have you done, besides ditching the podcast, to create more free time?

H: First off, you’re right- I do everything during work hours that I can. Instead of eating lunch somewhere, I drive thru, eat in the car, and run errands during my break. Like you, I also pay bills online at work, etc. I make my son eat his dinner in the bath. Really saves time. To combine the gym and grocery shopping, I sprint up and down the aisles while curling milk gallons and pressing bags of dog food over my head. Sometimes I start fights with my wife to get me out of shopping trips. That creates free time.

Only one of the things I mentioned in the last paragraph is false.

bath dinner

such a time saver

Let’s talk numbers. If you have 2-3 hours of free time now, how many did you have pre-children? How many pre-marriage? I’ll start. Pre-kid: 6-7 hours per day. Pre-marriage: 8-10 hours per day.

C: You mean the good old days!? Wow. Let me think. Before children, I would say I had about 5 hours of free time a day, and that’s not including weekends! The sky was the limit then! Pre-marriage? Every waking hour.

By the way, I am writing this from a local “bounce house.” I would consider this semi free time: I am with my kids but don’t need to supervise unless there is a problem. So really what I am saying is I just paid $12 to keep this conversation going. Life is good.

bounce house

sad what we now consider free time

 

  • http://aeiouwhy.blogspot.com Dex (@Dex1138)

    #twooping? I always went with #shwittering

    • http://underscoopfire.com Howie Decker

      #shwittering wins

  • Brian Morin

    Great stuff. You are absolutely right that being married with children (insert Al Bundy reference here) really cuts into free time. But you know what? I’ve come to the realization that I’d rather do something with my wife or play with my kids than have time alone. My time alone is my hour drive to and from work every day. I spend that time listening to podcasts or music, trying to clear my head so I don’t take my work frustrations out on my family. At home I find that the little free time I do get usually ends with me waking up on the couch wondering where the last hour went. Keep it up guys. All of us contributors are counting on the day when USF makes it huge, we quit our jobs, and you hire us as staff writers. That way, the things that were once spare time material become what makes us our livings. Then we find something new to occupy our free time…or lack thereof.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/chapmanrunner Corey Chapman

      Brian, let me be clear- family time is never compromised with us. I enjoy spending all my time with my kids, from the minute I get home to the minute they go to bed.

      I used to have that long work commute. Now? Its 10 minutes. So my decompressing occurs when the kids are asleep and the wife is busy.

      If we make it big, you will have to quit your day job and work for USF!

  • http://www.shezcrafti.com ShezCrafti

    1) Sleep less.
    2) More caffeine.
    3) Text AND email while driving. People who say it’s unsafe just suck at multitasking.
    4) Master the art of looking busy while doing nothing at work. Fuck your qualifications, this is your most valuable skill.
    5) Stop over-achieving and all this “caring so much” crap. Just stop it. Doing the bare minimum is perfectly fine 99% of the time.
    6) Learn to say no to people more. This almost always means learning to lie better. But that too is a valuable skill, so again, you win.
    7) Go to bed early–fake a headache if you have to–so you can watch porn under the covers on your smartphone.
    8) Don’t get bronchitis.
    9) Throw your to-do list away. Be honest, you weren’t going to do any of that shit anyway.
    10) And it should go without saying, twooping is a given. #ProudTwooper

    • http://underscoopfire.com Howie Decker

      Early favorite for comment of the year. Guess who’s getting invited to the next email Free Time Summit?

  • James

    “watched the whole ep, that wasn’t the question” – hilarious. The captions all got me , actually. this was a fun read, especially as a podcast listener who is familiar with you two

    • http://underscoopfire.com Howie Decker

      Thanks Jim!

    • http://underscoopfire.com Howie Decker

      thanks Jim- always appreciate your feedback

  • Batfan

    Good read, guys. As a guy with a wife, 3 kids and a 40 min (each way) commute, any tips on maximizing my time are helpful

    • http://underscoopfire.com Howie Decker

      Awesome! This was an experiment with “thinking out loud, bouncing it off someone else, and putting it to paper”. Glad you enjoyed it, thank you very much for the feedback!

  • http://twitter.com/SockOfFleagulls Jason Gross (@SockOfFleagulls)

    I twoop, twee, and if I had a waterproof tablet, I’d twower.

    Maybe Tweety Bird was misunderstood. He didn’t have a lisp… He was just ahead of his time.

    • http://underscoopfire.com Howie Decker

      Oddly, I’m takin’ a twump as I write this

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