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Complacency had settled in only after a few years of getting married. It didn’t take long before Andrew and I decided to take control and to do that, it was time to go to the whiteboard.
Shortly after marrying, Andrew and I had grown accustomed to a routine of working anywhere between 60 to 80 hour weeks with personal time together relegated to a couple stolen hours each day during the week. Naturally, there were the weekends as well, when we would go to the gym, visit with family, host an occasional BBQ, and run errands or take care of chores.
Many of you may also have jam-packed itineraries chauffeuring your kids to soccer practice, piano lessons, gymnastics and all sorts of kids birthday parties in various assorted venues.
Where does the time go?
If you really break down how you spend your time in a given week, it may look something similar to the chart here.
How we spend our time (average week)
- 30%Work 50h
- 12%Commute 20h
- 30%Sleep 50h
- 28%Personal Time 48h
We took a hard look at this distribution of time. While we didn’t like the reality we were living, we also saw this as an opportunity to not be complacent. So, we spent a few hours on a sunny Sunday morning challenging ourselves with the following questions:
- Is this all there is?
- What do we want to do with the rest of our lives?
- How do we spend more time together?
- Can we do the work that we love so it doesn’t feel like work?
- Do we want to live abroad?
- Let’s reduce commute time!
- What do we want to do more of?
Time to go to the whiteboard
There were many more questions and ideas that were thrown up on a whiteboard.
- Ideas were organized between short term goals and long term goals.
- We admitted to what were our deal-breakers. Things we aren’t willing to give up.
- A parking lot was set up for things we would want to explore later.
Essentially, we used tools often taken for granted in a business setting and applied it to our own personal lives and it worked for us because it really helped to crystalize our goals.
That Sunday morning session concluded with a decision to start knocking out some short-term goals. We decided to sacrifice our usual Sunday climbing session at our gym, Sender One. And it felt great. We left the whiteboard on display as a visual reminder that we would see each day and help to keep us on track.
One year later…
On the whole, the pie chart was largely unchanged. Our lives were still manic and frantic. I would venture to say that even the segment for Work increased and Personal decreased and the quality of the segment for Personal was spent stressing about Work.
For me, much of that had to do with a new role I had taken on at work which was undergoing a lot of changes with not a lot of resources. I had estimated it would take 6 months before work would stabilize and unfortunately it continued to grow more chaotic and demanding.
Time to go to the whiteboard (again)
We did knock out a good portion of our short term goals, but our long term goals remained unaddressed. Once again, not wanting to fall into complacency, we spent another sunny Sunday morning session in October, 2019 and took a few long term goal stickies, grouped them and began to hash out a project plan around how to take it from concept to reality.
This was the genesis of our new adventure… to sail around the world.
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