Now that I’m on sabbatical, people assume that I’m either working on some kind of top secret project or I am doing absolutely nothing. As with many things in life neither extreme is true. I do wonder sometimes what it says about me when someone guesses one or the other, and which one I think is more flattering.
So, what exactly am I doing with my time? In short, decompressing from the start up pressure cooker by relaxing and expanding my horizons.
It’s rare in life to get a chance to take a step back from the working world and recharge your batteries. It affords me the chance to learn new things, work on fun projects and think about new problems that would normally be so far down my to-do list that they would never get done. Many people wait until they are retired to take this kind of break and I feel lucky to do it now.
As a creative person, the number of things I would like to do is very, very long. So long, in fact, that in the first few weeks of my sabbatical I felt a lot of stress about finding the time to do them all. That defeats the purpose of being on sabbatical so I decided I needed a solution. The good news is that the solution I found is both fun and extremely effective. I call it activity roulette.
How I play Activity Roulette:
Step 1. I write down all of the things I want to do on index cards.
Step 2. Every night my wife shuffles the deck. My daughter then chooses a card at random and that is what I do the next day.
Step 3. Repeat
The great part about this game is that it keeps my days exciting as I never know what I’ll do tomorrow, but I also know that I will eventually get to everything on the list. By giving the responsibility of choosing how to spend my time to chance I am free to enjoy what I’m doing.
Some of the things I have done off my list since starting to play activity roulette:
- Cooked Chicken Tikka Masala from scratch
- Drawn some concept art for a new story
- Written a short story
- Published a new ML library
That might seem like an eclectic list to you, but to me it feels very productive.
If you find yourself with a big chunk of free time and a list of things you’d like to get done, I highly recommend giving activity roulette a try.
Photo available as part of the Public Domain.