Sarah and I covered a lot of ground in the BOBW podcast yesterday where we interviewed Katherine Goldstein.
Reading over what I posted here, I realize I spent most of that real estate talking about her choice to move from NYC to North Carolina so she could self-fund her project and have the support of extended family in raising her son.
The reason I dwelt on that aspect is that I am fascinated by this idea of consciously making a huge lifestyle change in order to free up time. Goldstein moved to save money, but that’s really about freeing up time. When she didn’t need to bring in a certain income to support her family’s expense structure, she was able to spend her time on something she wanted to do.
Those of us who write time management literature tend to focus on small tweaks to people’s lives for a simple reason: these changes are doable.
Most people could improve their commutes by listening to podcasts and audiobooks. Some chunk of people might be able to negotiate to work from home 1-2 days per week. Someone dealing with a spouse’s job, children’s schools, and an uncertain home-selling market, on the other hand, would find it more challenging to move 30 minutes closer to work, even though that would save an hour a day. So that’s not generally the solution we’d focus on.
If someone told me that they wanted to write a novel, and needed to find time to write, my first response would not be “quit your job and use that time!”
I would talk about getting up an hour earlier a few mornings a week (“funded” by going to bed earlier instead of puttering/scrolling/watching TV), or going to the library for one evening a week, and asking for family support for a few hours on the weekend. A person doing this might find 5-7 hours per week to write. At a rate of 400 words/hour, you’d write 2400-2800 words per week, and potentially have a draft in 6 months.
And yet, there’s something to be said for making big changes.
Finding a new job that’s closer to home, or moving, can open up big chunks of time day after day. Moving to North Carolina from New York can open up space in a budget, as can moving closer to extended family (who can pool resources).
Sometimes quitting a miserable job is the right answer, particularly if you have a good plan for what you’ll pursue next. We only have so much time. Nibbling around the edges can do a lot. But sometimes people want more. And going for more is an option. Probably not the easiest one or lowest risk one. But it is definitely an option. Sometimes that’s what it means to, as Juliet would say, “choose well.”
Photo: If you follow me on Instagram (@lvanderkam) you might know where this was taken… 🙂