Software optimize

How do you use your free time?


Free time; there’s often not enough of it especially for those of us in the IT industry (there always seems to be a stack of things in the ‘to-do’ list). IT workers are at a higher risk of suffering from ‘Burnout’ than those in any other industry. To help reduce the risk of burnout it’s important to relax in your free time; so how do you still get everything done?

There are often times when you may have 5 – 10 minutes to spare which isn’t really long enough to dig in to some serious work nor relax. Rather than wasting these slots a great little article over at lifehack.org suggests ‘20 Productive Ways to Use Your Free Time’. Here are my favourite three that I would say I do on a daily basis:

  • Clear out inbox: Got a meeting in 5 minutes? Use it to get your physical or email inbox to empty. If you’ve got a lot in your inbox, you’ll have to work quickly, and you may not get everything done, but reducing your pile can be a big help. And having an empty inbox is a wonderful feeling.
  • Phone calls: Keep a list of phone calls you need to make, with phone numbers, and carry it everywhere. Whether you’re at your desk or on the road, you can knock a few calls off your list in a short amount of time.
  • Follow up: Keep a follow-up list for everything you’re waiting on. Return calls, emails, memos — anything that someone owes you, put on the list. When you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, do some follow-up calls or emails.

I think the main theme here is not to waste time; get things done and out of the way so that when you really do have some free time you can enjoy it.

22 comments
Wayne M.
Wayne M.

Hey, it is okay to just relax for five minutes. It is okay to not be busy all of the time at work. If you are really so backlogged that you need to carry lists of phone calls to return, etc., learn to delegate or say no. If you 5 minutes before a meeting, take the long way there, look out the window, talk to a co-worker.

deepsand
deepsand

And, what makes you think that I've any "unused" time? I'm not independently wealthy.

Inkling
Inkling

I chase my one-year-old around the house! Which actually helps me with the other thing that I like to do, which is train for the Marine Corps Marathon.

Tig2
Tig2

If I have a spare ten minutes, I stretch, A spare 30 or more, I train. 60 miles will be darned near to impossible without the discipline.

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

Free time, for me is just that. Free of any worries or commitments. I either ride my bicycle or read a paperback. At times I'll get two days together, and I'll take my bike and head around 15 miles away to an area where there is a lot of GPS caches, that's pretty fun an on weekdays it is really quiet, few dog walkers or joggers on most of the multi-use paths.

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

The inverted commas are because, strictly speaking, I don't - it's the RC airframe that slope-soars - I just sit back and "fly" it. The personal exercise bit is getting up the sodding hill in the first place, carrying a glider with an 18 feet wingspan. The real challenge is keeping it up - as all you old blokes will understand!

lfloyd
lfloyd

I have friends that run a Travelling Petting Zoo. So, I volunteer with them to help out. Everything from mucking out stalls to raking the Ground, to Feed Rounds. Shows are the best though, telling everybody what the different animals are to holding them so a 2 year old can pet a chinchilla or a Coatimundi and you see the wild eye suprise in their eye.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

is spent gardening or reading or just sitting on the porch in the evening with a nice glass of wine and the binoculars (to identify all the lovely birdies!).

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

but, being from antiquated country like the Highlands of Scotland: what the hell are GPS caches? If they're good, at least tell me how to find them.

Kellster
Kellster

Start up my 2002 Honda Shadow Sabre, don my leathers and helmet, and take off on back roads of course, up north to NH and ME and maybe drop in on a friend or two. This is of course if the weather is good and I have a good sized chunk of time. I also try to visit friends that aren't likely to ask me to fix their computer. :)

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

I am backed up on projects for at least a month. I tried the website thing last year (during Winter when I hibernate indoors). really wasnt impressed with any that I tried. They all lacked in different ways. Not one that I tried was worth a crap. But then again, that was 16 months ago, maybe things changed a bit.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

What kind of garden do you have? It seems we share a hobby. I grow Aloes and other Succulents (including Cacti), from seed in a large potted garden. I usually have quite a few Hummingbirds around, and often they will come up to me to see what I am doing. This year I found a Dove nest with 2 eggs in one of my hanging pots as well.

Navy Moose
Navy Moose

I pick up my cameras every chance I get and shoot nature. Generally, I'm out of the house earlier than I am on a work day and I get home later. It never feels like work to me :-D Navy Moose

Tig2
Tig2

Google for "geocaching". The multitude of results should tell you what groups are caching in your area. Think "scavenger hunt". I have friends that really enjoy it as a family hobby.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

I used to ride, and it was great to just go!!! It never really mattered where either as long as it was not in traffic. Mountains were the best, I alway thought at least. Havent done it in years now. Miss it, but there were too many close calls, so I gave it up.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

I'm in a zone where I have to bring them in for the winter and this hurts their blooming. I may have to find a way to work on that if the hummers love them. The only hummer native around here is the ruby throated, and they fight each other and everything else to keep the stuff they like for themselves! It is funny. I don't do birdfeeders (or birdhouses) either. I just try to provide an environment that encourages them to hang about. And they do! :) Next on my list is a water garden. I want some resident dragonflies! I had thought about going into the nursery business myself - even worked for a couple of years for a local nursery in order to get the hang of things. But sheesh... It's a tough racket round here, and should I live to be 90 I think I'd rather be fiddling in these ol' mechanized boxes as opposed to breaking my back in the nursery! lol Yes, lots of work/play, as it sounds like you have... But I love to even just sit and weed with all the nature sounds around me. Something amazingly soothing about listening to nature. edit - missing word, add a paragraph

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

Mine, being all potted is a lot of work as well. I is in a small area, but it fills it up more than enough. Every year (and on some plant 2x a year) I need to re-pot. Then I need to determine which to rid of as well. This year I threw out probably around 800 plants. The biggest was an Agave Americana Variegata which weighed around 100-150 pounds. I decided re-potting it would break my back, and next years repot would kill me (or put me in the hospital). So I took a few pups and ditched the parent. I have over 120 varieties of Aloes alone. The hummingbirds love all of them. When I had a Buddleia with white and one with purple flowers, and I watched the Hummingbirds attack anything that went near them (even each other). It was funny watching one peck at a bee until it left the area of the plant.... I have a hothouse/shade house for seed germination and young plants. designed and built by me completely (and portions rebuilt to fix flaws). It is 8 1/2 feet wide, 18 feet long, and 9 feet tall. Sides open for spring/summer/fall and totally enclosed for winter. But even when open, a shade blanket is used to keep bugs and things out. Funny though, the Hummingbirds know that things are in flower in there, and they know the like it. So when I open the door to go in and water, I often have a follower... Did I mention that Hummingbirds love Aloe nectar? Anyway, with all of the varieties out here, something is always in flower, which makes it a main attraction for the birds. But I am not really a birdwatcher, I try to accomodate them more naturally. I do not put out feeders or anything, but I have gone out of the way to put in a plant or two that flowers at a specific time of the year. I was looking into starting a nursery, but in the Bay Area, we are under 'quarantine' for nursery stock. Since I am in a small plot in a residential area there are further restrictions, and since I rent.... Lets just say that it did not work out at all.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

I garden for both food and wildlife, and have registered my backyard with the NWF as a backyard wildlife habitat. I grow lots of flowering things and herbs for the bees, butterflies, beneficial insects and the birds, and plant a variety of those, both annual and perennial specifically for the purpose of attracting beneficial insects, butterflies, and birds. The butterflies love the herbs for laying their eggs, and of course the caterpillars decimate the crop... Mantids are partial to my lemon balm for some reason. Something is in bloom from early spring through late fall, and for winter I have things that produce food for the overwintering birds. I have lots of red flowering stuff for the hummingbirds, they seem to like my cannas the best. Goldfinches come for the echinacea and foxtail grass, and I always have sunflowers for the cardinals. Buddleia for the butterflies (though the hummingbirds like these too), a few snags (large dead tree branches) for the birds to perch on, and some untouched zones for the ground dwelling insects. I also keep all sorts of water sources around for birds and bugs and it is great to while away an evening watching them play in the water. I frequently have mourning doves nesting in my hanging baskets - but they tend to desert them before laying eggs because they are too near the windows and I have cats. As to the food gardening, this year I am laying fallow. The area I have to work in is limited in size and so I cannot rotate properly to avoid soil born diseases (verticillium wilt for example). Every few years I solarize and lay fallow after. When I'm up and running, I plant heavily and can the harvest, soups and jellies mostly. I grow strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Oh - and crabapple for pectin and lovely flowers in spring! I have a couple of varieties of Aloe and a couple of varieties of Jade plant, but other than that no succulents. RE: hummingbirds and cameras - kinda like deer in dear season! lol Peer me if you want to swap stories!

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

at least normally. I have gotten them to pose for me here though. They see me often enough that they do not usually scare away from me now. I got one on a 30 sec. video, just watching me film it. Another one, when the digicamera beeped, she flew right in front of the lens. 5x optical, 1/2 feet away. She filled the entire frame. But normally, when I get the cam out, they decide to leave. I put it down and they come back (its like they know or something).

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

for some folks (at least the way I garden) but it's not at all like work to me. There is something about playing around in the dirt and sucking up the sun while listening to the sounds of the wildlife that is really refreshing - and kind of awesome. And come mid-summer when the butterflies, hummingbirds and goldfinches are happily buzzing about, I pull out the camera. Have yet to get a hummingbird in the pics, but maybe this year!