During the busy years of building a career and raising a family, free time can feel scarce. So when we do get a big chunk of it, we’d like to use it well.
But what does that mean?
That was the question a reader was facing when she wrote me recently. She had arranged for two weeks off after she ended her current position, and before she started a new job. Her kids would continue with their usual school and childcare arrangements. This meant that, during business hours, she was more or less free.
She had identified some writing projects she wanted to do, and she was looking for either a class or a coach to keep her accountable. I thought this was smart, but I also thought it was an interesting question to consider more broadly.
If you had two weeks off in this situation, what would you do with it?
Travel is a possibility, though taking two weeks away solo would require some negotiations with other people when kids are involved. Most likely, for most of us, this would be more like a 2-week staycation, except that when you’re in your same home environment, it’s easy to do what you always do. Next thing you know a school day disappears into a grocery shopping trip, returning a sweater at the mall, and sorting the mail pile. I understand the desire to do “nothing,” but often, “nothing” means a lot of cleaning the house. These days of open time slip away without much to show for them. The house will just get dirty again.
I suspect many of us would want some sort of doable project — which would deliver the satisfaction of accomplishing something we wouldn’t normally do, but wouldn’t be too taxing. After all, the new job might deliver its own stresses soon enough. And in general, I think it’s a good idea to map out a plan for the two weeks, so some good stuff happens. Anchor events are good for weekends, and they’re good for longer periods of time off too. When there is stuff to look forward to, time feels better in general.
So what would you do?
Photo: I might take some day trips to the beach…