The Study Dude—Hard Knocks Hobbies

Are you as crafty as Martha Stewart’s prison-time?  She mixed her hobby with hard-knocks, fetching herbs while roaming prison lawns.  She whipped up gourmet meals for inmates while looking polished in prison stripes.   Spotless cell too, I bet.

At work, my office looked messy; my hair, Einsteinian.  My computer screen rimmed with sticky notes, scrawled by shaking hands.  My folders heaped, stuffed with pages taunting tattered edges.

Down the hall, Chaz’s office looked spotless.  He sported color-coded folders, not a paper peeking out.  His office wafted lavender and pine.  He polished his narrow-toed shoes nightly.  Chaz would say, “If you stress with mess, clean with care.”

Employers may pat backs for cleanliness—but they’ll pour vintage wine for organizing skills.  I might’ve organized using project management software, but its price bulges eyeballs.  Instead, I color code to-do-lists.  I once colored green for top priority.  Yellow for second priority.  Red for completed.  But I switched the order, baffling myself.  Luckily, I found an app for prioritizing with color-codes: Task Planner.  Unlike me, the app keeps colors consistent.

So, how do you prioritize chores?  Dirk Zeller’s book says delegate dull chores but do chores that fit your hobbies.  I have tons of hobbies—many birthed by chow.  For instance, I enjoy buying colored plates and bowls for eye-candy din-din.  So, washing dishes gives me pleasure.  I eat healthily, so I love grocery shopping.  Sadly, I once adored cooking, but panic attacks fueled a fire phobia.  Nothing fried now, nothing baked—just nuked or raw.  No Martha here.

Dirk Zeller reveals the art of planning and delegating chores in his book Successful Time Management for Dummies:

  • Why plan your schedule? “For every minute you invest in planning, you save ten minutes in execution” (p. 53).
  • How do you begin prioritizing with your schedule? “Take a good look at your top 12 goals and identify the tasks you need to do that align with those goals” (p. 55).
  • When scheduling, keep in mind the 80/20 rule: “Only 20 percent of those things that you spend your time doing produces 80 percent of the results that you want to achieve” (p. 54).
  • So, do chores that fit your hobbies: “You can apply the 80/20 rule to help balance how you invest your time in chores so it aligns with your hobbies” (p. 60).  In other words, if you love the outdoors, then do gardenwork.  If you love to snowshoe, shovel the walks.
  • And delegate the chores not aligned with your hobbies: “Cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, yard work, bill paying, and other tasks are essential, but that doesn’t mean that you have to do them—sometimes the added cost of hiring help is worth the time it frees in your schedule.
  • Lastly, schedule “those little pleasures that add texture to your life—reading, study, yoga, your weekly facial” (p. 61).

My neighbor spent hours sculpting her lawn.  She flaunted bird baths, cobblestone walkways, and sculpted trees.  A backyard Martha.  I wondered, “Why not focus instead on health?”  Well, the world blooms when we care about tasks that clash.