When you’re financially independent (FI) and your time is your own, that’s living the FI-Life. Although I’m not there yet, I’m working on it and I can’t wait to get there!
Where Does The Time Go?
Yesterday, as is the case with most Mondays, I wasn’t thrilled to leave my family and head into work. But like I do every Monday, I get up and go to work anyway, although it quickly became apparent that yesterday wasn’t like most days; something was different.
The first out-of-the-ordinary thing I noticed was that my bus was half-full (it’s usually standing room only). Then because the freeway had such light traffic, our commute didn’t take as long as it usually does. Finally, once I got to the office I immediately noticed how quiet it was.
The reason for all of this is the time of year. It’s currently late December, the week of Christmas, and many of my co-workers (and apparently lots of other workers out there) are using up their PTO days and enjoying the last two weeks of the year away from the office. The quietness in my office building this morning was a reminder that, for now, work is still mandatory for me. Almost immediately I began feeling jealous of my co-workers’ temporary freedom from work and began to daydream about what I’d be doing with my time right now if I didn’t have to be at work.
But daydreaming rarely leads to anything other than wasted time. So I quickly snapped out of it, threw some numbers into a spreadsheet and and cranked out this post. Posting on the blog is a much better use of my time than daydreaming!
I wanted to see a breakdown of how I’m currently spending my time vs. what my schedule will look like once I’m financially independent and no longer have to work for a paycheck. I gotta admit, I really like the way my post-FI pie chart looks!
HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME?
If you’re like me, your time is spent all over the place. Life can be hectic and it’s easy to feel rushed and pressed for time. Initially my pie chart had many slices and reflected this chaos … commuting, helping kids with homework, eating, grocery shopping, blogging, etc. It looked messy, so to keep the pie charts clean I’ve lumped everything into four main categories: Family Time, Personal Time, Sleep, and Work.
- Family Time is any time I spend as a parental unit to the kids. Helping with homework, chauffeuring to and from school, packing lunches, playing with them, etc. The pie chart in this post represents the kids being in school. When the kids are home during the summer months this changes a bit, but not much (because I’m still at working most of the day).
- Personal Time is time spent either with my wife, or alone, or working on this blog. But it’s sans kids for the most part and comes once the kids are in bed and before I’ve called it a day.
- Sleep are the hours when I typically zonk out.
- Work Time includes everything from getting ready for work, commuting to and from work, and doing my actual work-work. Basically any second that pulls me from Family, Personal, or Sleep = work time.
I don’t think I’m missing anything here, so now that I’ve bucketed everything into these four neat categories, here’s the breakdown.
WHERE MY TIME GOES TODAY
As you can see, exactly one half of my day is spent working. 12 hours per day, 5 days per week I trade half of my working hours for a paycheck. Granted, it’s a nice paycheck, and my job is pretty good. All things considered I don’t have much to complain about, but I will anyway.
This is a pretty shitty deal. No matter how good my job is, it’s not nearly so grand that I’m okay with being gone from my wife and kids for half of my day. When you add sleep into the equation and look at only my waking hours, things look even worse.
When I think about and try to label myself, I imagine a caring husband and doting father. Yet, only 21% of my time is dedicated to areas I most identify with. That’s not how I imagined parenthood being. When I was dating my wife, I didn’t look forward to the day when I could leave her for half of the day – just the opposite. I married her because I wanted to spend even more time with her than I was already spending with her.
What the **** went wrong?
Look, I get it – when I go to work I am in fact providing for my wife and kids. That’s a HUGE part of being a husband and father. I get it and understand it. But I don’t like it and if I were designing my life from scratch I sure as hell wouldn’t allocate half of it to being a wage slave. Screw that.
But I’m not able to start over and design our life from scratch. All I can do is make a fresh start by finding solutions to anything that I don’t like then setting out to blaze a new path. So that’s exactly what I’m doing, because I’m not going to be spending the next 25 years doing this crap. We’ve come up with a plan, and once we’ve met our goals and my time is my own, this is how things are going to look.
WHERE MY TIME WILL GO ONCE I’M FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT
Now this is more like it. This is MUCH better! Once I’m financially independent my ‘work’ goes from occupying 50% of my time to 0% of it.
Allow me to clarify one thing regarding work. I still plan on working on something once I’m financially independent, I’m just not sure what that’s going to be. Maybe I’ll keep going to an office every day (hahahahaaha!), maybe I’ll become a full time blogger. Whatever I do, I’ll be doing it because I choose to, not because I’m forced to do it in return for a paycheck. And because I’ll be doing what I want to do with my time, rather than trading it for a paycheck, I’m defining post-FI work as “personal time.”
LIVING THE FI-LIFE
In my FI-Life, I’ll have an extra 4.5 hours of Family Time. This will come during the morning hours before the kids leave for school, and in the afternoon once they return. I’ll also pick up and extra 7 hours of personal time and even an extra half hour of sleep.
I’m trying not to daydream about what I’ll do with myself once I’ve got all that time back! Daydreams are fine in small doses, but I’d rather focus doing small things today that will help me buy back my freedom tomorrow. Good decisions build upon themselves and when you stick with it, the Personal Finance Multiplier Effect kicks in and you reach your goals faster than you realize.
Are you living the FI-Life? What does your time look like today? If you’re not happy with your current situation, what are you doing to change it? Please leave a comment with a link back to your blog and let me know!