Last night, as I do most Thursday nights, I went to choir practice. Most weeks, rehearsal is 2-2.5 hours, though last night it was shorter because we were out of our usual space. During this time, on Thursdays, I sing through rather challenging music. I love making music alongside talented musicians, so that is great in its own right, but equally important: during rehearsal I am not managing kid schedules or dealing with my email. This is time apart from work or family responsibilities, reminding me that I am a person apart from either of those things.
During the busy years of building career and raising a family, it can be hard to make space for our own interests. But doing so can also make the busy years feel sustainable and joyful, rather than a slog. Singing in various choirs as an adult has been transformative for my schedule, which is one reason I am a big proponent of Tranquility by Tuesday Rule #7: Take one night for you.
Each week, take a few hours to do something that is not work and is not caring for family members. What you do is up for you, and it doesn’t literally have to be a “night” (a weekday morning could work too!), but ideally it happens at the same time every week and involves a commitment to something (e.g. being in a choir or a band, playing on a softball team, a regular run or bike ride with friends, a regular volunteering gig, a spiritual small group, etc.). The reason to make a commitment is that then this night winds up on the schedule and happens, rather than getting chucked when life gets busy (as it always will).
When I teach this rule, I know that I will often get push-back. People understand that they should go to bed at a reasonable time (Rule #1) or that it might be wise to plan their weeks (Rule #2), but they’ve got various reasons why it just wouldn’t work for them to do something fun for two hours every Tuesday night (or Saturday morning, or whatever).
We will discuss some of those concerns over the next few days! I am familiar with them myself. It has not been particularly easy for me to get to choir practice each week — I have five kids; my husband travels for work (as do I on occasion). But I do believe that something that brings joy to my life deserves to be a family priority. It deserves to be a priority for you too.
If you’ve already got a regular fun-for-you commitment, amazing. If you don’t, this is a great week to think about what you would truly enjoy having in your life. This shouldn’t be something you feel you “should” do — it should be something energizing that makes you excited. You should look forward to your night! What would make you really happy every time you saw that recurring event on your calendar?
You may not be able to start this new thing immediately, and it might take some experimentation (which we’ll also talk about this week). But I’d suggest keeping an open mind about trying this rule. It might be a disaster, in which case you can go back to life as it was. Or maybe you just might find life a lot more fun — and that would be a great thing to experience on an average Tuesday.
In other news: Check out this TBT In Real Life video about how one woman decided to start making space for her own passions amid a busy life.
New here? We’re working through my nine favorite time management rules over nine weeks. I write about these rules in Tranquility by Tuesday, my most recent book. Please check it out!