Life is busy. For the vast majority of working adults, that’s a statement that can be broadcast with a great deal of confidence. If you have children, then free time is likely almost non-existent.
So when life is busy, does that mean hobbies and outside interests need to go by the wayside? There are genuine situations where a person legitimately does not have the time to nurture a hobby. Often, though, it’s a matter of organizing your schedule to find the time.
To better sort out how you can incorporate more hobbies into your life, consider using technology. An online calendar has features that can help you get organized, set aside the time you need, and track your progress. Whether you’re taking part in a longstanding hobby or trying a new one, here are three tips on how your calendar can help.
1. Gather Your Crew
Especially as an adult, hobbies can be a way to get some much-needed social time with friends. After all, it’s likely your interactions with people outside your family are limited to your coworkers. For those who work from home, that time with other adults can be even more precious.
Pursuing hobbies along with other people not only fulfills that social need but also keeps everyone accountable. It’s easy to skip a workout if you’re just letting yourself down. Canceling on a group of people tends to make a person think twice before doing so. The same thing applies to reading. You have more incentive to make time for reading if you’re scheduled to discuss it with a book club.
But you’re likely not the only one out of your group who leads a busy life. So getting everyone together to participate in hobbies can be tricky. That’s where your calendar comes in handy.
If everyone keeps an up-to-date personal calendar, you can share viewing access with hobby group members. That way everyone can see when you’re available for getting together or when your hobby deadlines are. You can even go a step further and use a meeting scheduler app to compare everyone’s schedules for you. That way open times that work for the whole group are easily identified.
2. Incorporate Interests Into Your Routine
Taking part in hobbies sporadically isn’t as effective as working the activities into your recurring calendar. Choosing certain time slots every week or month that are always dedicated to hobbies is helpful for everyone in your household.
Even if you pursue a different activity every Thursday evening, that can still be an occupied time slot. After a few weeks, it becomes routine and those around you will schedule around that recurring unavailability.
You can use your calendar to help you out, too. Most online calendars allow you to set recurring events and reminders. You can set them to end after so many occurrences or to continue indefinitely.
Using your calendar works the best if you use one for both your work day and personal schedules. If you have a recurring class you take during the work day, your coworkers can see that you’re unavailable during that time. You don’t necessarily have to put detailed information regarding your hobby into your calendar. Just marking the time slot as taken often accomplishes what you need.
3. Make Yourself Accountable
If your hobbies don’t involve other people, it can be hard to put in as much time as you’d like. Especially if you’re tired, it’s easy to convince yourself that your interests aren’t as important as other activities. Why practice woodworking when you could do dishes, send a work email, or browse Netflix for an hour without selecting anything?
One way to hold yourself accountable is to use your calendar to sign yourself tasks. Determine the amount of time per week that you could reasonably devote to your passions and make a plan. Once you come up with something that fits within your lifestyle and doesn’t negatively affect your work or family life, make a plan.
Figure out what you can accomplish within your time allowance and input that goal onto your calendar. It could be as simple as a certain number of hours you spend on your hobby. It could be as detailed as how far along you want to be in your projects on any given date.
If you input a task on your calendar, you mark it as completed when it’s fulfilled. Once you do so, the task will disappear from your calendar. If you have a clean calendar, you know you’re staying on track with your goals.
You can use this tracking to set up a secondary accountability system as well. Let’s say you set up a schedule of rewards for yourself when you improve at your hobby. If you’re a quilter, it could be a sewing machine upgrade when you meet certain goals or deadlines. Tracking your progress through calendar tasks can help you be more objective in whether you’re accomplishing the goals you set for yourself.
Hobbies Should Enhance, Not Disrupt
Different people take part in hobbies for different reasons. Some enjoy the social aspect of activities that require a group. Others get fulfillment from creating something artistic or functional. Whatever your reason, hobbies can bring a variety of benefits to your life.
Using a calendar can help those hobbies be incorporated fairly seamlessly into your existing lifestyle. Because after all, a hobby that disrupts other aspects of your life isn’t likely to bring you the positive results you’re seeking.