Time Allocation

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Post Reply
P_K
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed May 04, 2016 9:47 pm

Time Allocation

Post by P_K » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:03 pm

I will soon be in both a financial (~25x annual living expenses) and mental state where I will feel comfortable leaving my present full time employment. I will not have enough funds to feel comfortable never earning income again, nor would I wish to. I have been debating how exactly I want to approach the sudden influx of free time with respect to the development of additional skills/hobbies to the point where one or several could earn an income. Would it be best to all in on one or two skills to quickly realize earning potential or perhaps better to develop four or five simultaneously? I have identified half a dozen or so activities that could earn money within time frames ranging from immediately to years. Some are more desirable than others but none stand out as what one might describe as a “passion.”

I can see merits to several different ways of allocating time, so I thought I would pose the question to the forum. How would you allocate your time given the situation I described above? Or, if you have retired already, how have you chosen to allocate your time? What advice would you give/what seems to have worked best for you?

ETA: Clarified my financial position.
Last edited by P_K on Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

onewayfamily
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:13 am
Contact:

Re: Time Allocation

Post by onewayfamily » Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:21 am

My opinion - if you have a decent-sized stash saved then just do whatever you enjoy the most.
You're not quitting full-time work to just spend 8 hours a day following a schedule and doing things that you don't enjoy.
Try them all, mix-and-match etc. until something catches you and you feel like continuing on with that - even if it's just relaxing or reading for a few weeks or months.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 5106
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Time Allocation

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:47 am

Yesterday, I was skimming a book that claimed that attention management, rather than time management, is the 21st century creative worker issue. The author also suggested that if you don't maintain the practice of focus, you will lose your ability to achieve flow. I would suggest that "vigor" can become another limiting factor when your time is no longer constrained by full-time employment.

Even if you are not working for money at all, or only plan on working very little, it is still possible to find yourself working all day long on a variety of projects in an inefficient manner. Trust me, I am no Tim Ferriss, but one thing I learned by reading archaic books on the topic of homemaking is that it is important to define your "DONE!" with any type of work, so that you can then truly relax. Unfortunately, even if a person achieves very secure FI, there is no way to rationally inform your body to then go into a permanently high quality relaxation mode for the rest of your life.

Anyways, based on my previous experience with trying to solve this sort of puzzle, I would say that there can be a significant difference between a lifestyle that includes a 45 minute work day, a 5 hour work week, a 20 hour work month, a 60 hour work season, or a 240 hour work year. None of these choices represents a major commitment, but you might find one option much more appealing for reasons having to do with your natural internal resource flows, such as attention and vigor, and what feels like or practically serves to provide more "freedom" for you. So, you might want to favor those activities that will best lend themselves to the sort of reduced work schedule you would best prefer.

I am currently leaning towards 60 hour seasonal schedule with 4 different activities, but may kick off experiment by trying 240 hour year, just to see how that feels. I have done short day vs. short week, at the 16 hour/week level, and determined that two 8 hour days in a row was negative unless I also allotted any remaining energy/discipline/time in my day only to physical exercise. So, I would structure 240 hour work year to be like a boot-camp period during which I would work/exercise, work/exercise, work/exercise..and then be DONE!!! The reason why I am leaning towards 60 hour season instead is that I think I would run out of quality relaxation ability before the end of a year, and I just kind of like the notion of my little bit of paid work having a Spring Cleaning or Back to School vibe.

Seppia
Posts: 1080
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: Time Allocation

Post by Seppia » Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:17 pm

I would look at this another way.
If you NEED some sort of income, focus initially on something you can for sure make money on (as in: you have the skills).

Example: my current line of work demands full employment.
I know I can work as a sous-chef, because I've done it in the past for a sufficient amount of time and kept my skills updated.
Being a sous chef is something I could do during the peak weekend days only as a part time gig.
If I were to quit my job that would be the first thing I'd do, for income.
Meanwhile, I'd be using my free time to do other stuff I like
If I ever discover any of this stuff I like to be potentially income-creating, I may quit the sous chef gig.

If you don't have any demonstrated way of generating income you NEED on a part time basis, I would either keep working until you dont need it or develop the skills necessary.

Banking on something happening is a bit over optimistic.
May happen, but not my idea of something resilient

P_K
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed May 04, 2016 9:47 pm

Re: Time Allocation

Post by P_K » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:46 pm

@all
Thanks for the responses. I edited my original post to clarify my financial position as that seemed pertinent.

@onewayfamily
I have thought about taking a few days or weeks to “decompress” so to speak after leaving full time employment. The thought pleases me. However, I also have – despite several attempts – been unable to shake the “I must be productive and efficient and accomplish things” mindset that I have had since childhood. The idea of a new schedule, one of my own choosing where I can select a variety of areas to develop, excites me. Though I much enjoyed and appreciated Lin Yutang’s wisdom in The Importance of Living when he described the three great American vices (efficiency, punctuality, and the desire for achievement), I have been unable to apply the wisdom to my daily life. Perhaps I will come to apply it in time. As you say though, I certainly would not like to spend all day doing things I do not wish to do. All the activities I have identified strike me as things that will help develop a resilient lifestyle system, and most are things I enjoy/find fulfilling – but none really stand out. Likely I will try all of them at some point; the question is mostly of how much focus I should grant any one activity at any time. As 7Wb5 mentions below, attention management/vigor seem to be the most critical for achieving flow, and both are a function of enjoyment at some level, so I will likely gravitate towards the most enjoyable activity, as I will see greater strides in the development of said ability.

@7Wb5
I have worried some over not being able to precisely define my “DONE!” point once I’ve begun paid work for myself. While separating myself physically from my at-home work seems simple, I feel that mentally separating will be difficult. “Why am I sitting here drinking tea and reading when I could be doing X!?” type of thing. I am very fond of efficiency and overworking and not resting enough are great enemies of it. That and I enjoy my present downtime a great deal right now; it would be a shame to lose that when I should be entering a time when I have more of it than ever. I will definitely keep what you have mentioned in mind.

I have actually made a couple of spreadsheets regarding the breakdown of my cost of living vs. various methods of structuring paid time at different wage levels – 5 hours/week for 20 weeks vs. 10 hours/week for 10 weeks vs., etc. just as you mention. I have been leaning toward a seasonal work schedule with longer days/weeks for a short part of the year and then being done for the rest of the year. That seemed like a good way to separate from work and be in relaxation mode (alleviating the worry I mention above). However, with some of my current side projects I often work in great spurts as inspiration strikes and that lends better to an always on but with limited hours kind of schedule. Maybe a combination of both would be possible - seasonal with one or two things and then always on the rest of the year with some others? I have not thought of doing that before. I will think on it. I can already see how some projects would fit together nicely in that regard. Though, likely I will just have to do a lot of trial and error and see what leaves me feeling/being the most productive.

@Seppia
That is fair advice. I edited my original post to include this detail, but I will have ~25x annual living expenses before I feel comfortable leaving my full time work, maybe a bit more than that. I am not overly confident in that lasting as long as I will need it to, but I also do not feel that I would need income immediately. That said, I am a rather conservative person, so I definitely intend on spending at least some time working on areas that would pay off sooner than later – likely on the order of a few weeks. I could do that while developing other skills that might take a year or more to produce income, or maybe never. My hope is that with ~25x annual living expenses I would have the freedom to fail a few times without having to go back to my current line of work or take a part time job doing something. I have rather low living expenses, so I could pay my full cost of living working part time at a grocery store or something equivalent. I am not intending/hoping to do that of course, but that does add some degree of resiliency as well.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: Time Allocation

Post by classical_Liberal » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:55 pm

Seppia wrote:
Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:17 pm
If you don't have any demonstrated way of generating income you NEED on a part time basis, I would either keep working until you dont need it or develop the skills necessary.
This is very good advice. Why do you want to leave your current employment? Do you dislike your core duties, or do you dislike doing it as often as you currently do, or dislike how it controls your life? Can you parlay your current expertise into a part time job of some kind you would enjoy more while you develop other skills? If you simply hate the work, then working to develop another skill which you enjoy more and will provide some level of part time income shouldn't take long.

Personally, I recommenced against attempting to monetize anything you are truly passionate about. It just ruins the experience as you are forced to change things you enjoy about it to make money. It's better to choose something interesting, but not a passion. Continue to work on your passions in your own way, if they accidentally make money at some point (without trying), more power to you.
7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:47 am
I am currently leaning towards 60 hour seasonal schedule with 4 different activities, but may kick off experiment by trying 240 hour year, just to see how that feels. I have done short day vs. short week, at the 16 hour/week level, and determined that two 8 hour days in a row was negative unless I also allotted any remaining energy/discipline/time in my day only to physical exercise. So, I would structure 240 hour work year to be like a boot-camp period during which I would work/exercise, work/exercise, work/exercise..and then be DONE!!! The reason why I am leaning towards 60 hour season instead is that I think I would run out of quality relaxation ability before the end of a year, and I just kind of like the notion of my little bit of paid work having a Spring Cleaning or Back to School vibe.


I'm curious to see how this works out for you. I'm particularly curious about the coupling of activities together in a symbiotic fashion. A brief "in head" overview of my personal history suggests you are really on to something whit that idea. I do I think different activities probable have different optimum cluster points. Somethings are just better done once weekly or monthly, whereas others are better to do in rapid succession, both from a productivity and enjoyment standpoint.

P_K
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed May 04, 2016 9:47 pm

Re: Time Allocation

Post by P_K » Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:44 pm

@classical_Liberal
I wouldn’t say I dislike my core duties. Mostly they are very tolerable, sometimes enjoyable, sometimes not, occasionally stressful, though not overly so. My biggest complaint is the duration: 40+ hours a week is too much. I am not sure I would enjoy anything at that amount of hours, and I know I don’t enjoy my current work at that level of hours. I simply do not derive enough fulfillment or enjoyment from my work to justify that much time. I also feel ready to try something new. As such, while using my skills to find freelance part time work would be possible, I feel that from both a resiliency and enjoyment standpoint it would best to work on other projects/interests once I have left my current work. Though of course it would be wise to keep my present skill set as a backup.


classical_Liberal wrote: Personally, I recommenced against attempting to monetize anything you are truly passionate about. It just ruins the experience as you are forced to change things you enjoy about it to make money.
I would agree. I have thought on this before, but I do not think it really applies to my present situation; none of the skills/interests I wish to develop could be accurately described as a passion. I do not believe I have any passions. Perhaps one or several of my interests will develop into one as I explore it more and become better at it but for now I am not concerned about ruining a great interest from monetization. In fact, I find the monetization part motivating. It is a means by which I can measure the value I am creating for others, a way of keeping score, a way of tracking my progress. It seems fun to me. That combined with my enjoyment in accumulating a higher net worth makes me feel that I could derive some measure of satisfaction from any paid employment. Fortunately I do not have to settle for “any paid employment” so I am looking to satisfy that enjoyment (and earn a potentially necessary income) while exploring areas of interest in a time frame of my own choosing. It is a fortuitous position to be in, to be sure. The question just remains of choosing an optimal schedule/strategy for developing these interests. Though, as has been discussed already, that is generally very individual and will require some experimentation.

Jason
Posts: 2273
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: Time Allocation

Post by Jason » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:47 am

I don't think in terms of time because I don't know what time is. I think in terms of mind. I spend enough time alone to know that it can become your worse enemy. So the question to me is "How do I make sure I can maintain a healthy mental attitude towards this intermediate state when doubt or confusion inevitably enter." I don't think you can make one all encompassing plan for that. I think you need a few contingency plans to see which one or which combination work best.

I agree with one comment though: if you have an unadulterated passion, don't corrupt it by thinking you can monetize it because that implies external reward/acceptance and that necessarily diminishes the joy of it irregardless of success or failure. If it happens organically, then so be it. But make sure its a take it or leave it type of thing.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: Time Allocation

Post by classical_Liberal » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:20 am

P_K wrote:
Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:44 pm
Fortunately I do not have to settle for “any paid employment” so I am looking to satisfy that enjoyment (and earn a potentially necessary income) while exploring areas of interest in a time frame of my own choosing. It is a fortuitous position to be in, to be sure. The question just remains of choosing an optimal schedule/strategy for developing these interests..
Very well written, this is exactly what originally drew me to the FIRE concept. I really do not want to "retire", but I want my work to be fulfilling. Not only a small part of it, most of it. Strangely, learning to become FI, ERE-style has become an interest in itself. I suppose it's one of those interests that does pay dividends.

With 25X expenses, you already have a backup for any situation which does not work out. Invest it appropriately, then, let the experimentation begin.

Post Reply